MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

It was great to see the Fylde coast under the spotlight with two major BBC shows focusing on the area in the past week.

The Children in Need DIY SOS show at Blackpool Carer’s Centre and Strictly Come Dancing at the Tower Ballroom put us in the eyes of the world.

It’s great to see them coming to Blackpool as it has given a huge boost to the entire Fylde coast.

It is valuable free publicity for us, and I spoke to many people in London who expressed interest in visiting the area in the build-up to what is arguably Strictly’s biggest episode of the series.

Having been on the Digital Economy Bill committee, and as the present vice chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC, I am more than aware of the good the organisation can do.

The APPG encourages debate and engages in discussion about all elements of the BBC, including the BBC world service and the BBC’s role within the creative industries, and I’m delighted to see the organisation investing in and publicising our coast.

I was lucky enough to be at the Tower with my mum for Strictly and it was a wonderful experience.

However, that meant I missed out on one of my other highlights of the year – Lytham’s Christmas Lights Switch-On.

It is wonderful that thousands of people descended on the town to see the annual show, provided by Lytham Festival promoters Cuffe & Taylor.

It’s vital that each and every person who attended realises the importance of shopping locally this festive season – if we don’t use out local shops, we run the risk of losing them.

This weekend is traditionally the biggest in the year and I hope that traders in the town see a significant boost following last weekend’s event.

Much further afield, I am pleased to see action being taken to purge ISIS from Mosul in Iraq, an area I visited earlier this year.

I saw first-hand the devastation caused by ISIS and met persecuted Christians who had been forced to flee their homes.

As a member of the Catholic Legislators’ Network, I was invited on the visit by the charity Aid to the Church in Need, to highlight the plight of refugees to the international community.

I spoke to people who told me their lives had been saved by airstrikes, which slowed the Isis advance on their homes. Christianity was eradicated from Mosul and the Nineveh Plain.

Now, those of all religions displaced from their homes can see a glimmer of hope that they can one day return, without fear of persecution because of their beliefs.

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