MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

THERE was an excellent turnout in Lytham this weekend for the annual Christmas lights switch-on ceremony.

While often these events see a local pop star or actress drafted in to flick the switch, Lytham’s festive display was this year turned on by In Bloom chairman Jim Leake, after the town was named the best in Britain at the national awards last month.

It was a fitting tribute to those volunteers who worked so hard to bring home the title and Mr Leake received a brilliant reception from the crowd.

Following the ceremony, I went for a walk around town and was pleased to see how busy the shops, cafes and restaurants appeared to be.

While high streets are often crowded with national chain stores, Lytham has maintained its individuality and we should not forget the small independent shops when buying Christmas gifts this year. I am proud of the choice on offer in Kirkham, St Annes and Lytham and will certainly be shopping local myself.

On Sunday, I laid a wreath at St Annes War Memorial in Ashton Gardens as part of the town’s Remembrance service.

It was a well attended event, as, it turned out, was the funeral of Bomber Command veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival on Monday.

When I read the appeal in the Lytham St Annes Express for people to attend I wanted to ensure someone was there to pay their respects so, having unavoidable commitments, I sent a representative on my behalf.

But I need not have worried as hundreds of people took the time to attend and show their support for Mr Percival. That doesn’t surprise me in the least and reflects the warmth and generosity of spirit I have found in people from Fylde since becoming MP.

One of the biggest things taking place in Parliament this week has been the beginning of the debate for an in-out referendum on Europe.

The problems with the EU are not going away. We must face up to them. That is exactly what this bill will help us do and I will be voting in favour of it. If it passes, it will be legally impossible for any future government to ignore it.

Those MPs who choose to try to scupper the bill and block a referendum will have voters to answer to in 2015. I know people in Fylde would take a dim view of anyone who would deny them a say on such an important issue.

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