MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

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IT was a cold, grey and damp autumnal day when I arrived in Poland last Thursday.

Myself, along with a number of other Parliamentarians and students from across the North-West, were visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau on a day-long tour designed to continue to educate people about the Holocaust.

With young people from Carr Hill High School and Lytham St Annes Technology College in attendance, I thought the visit was an ideal opportunity to learn more, pay my respects and also stress to the young people the importance of learning from history.

The scheme funded by the Holocaust Education Trust , now in its thirteenth year, is based on the premise that “hearing is not like seeing.”

And that adage really rang true upon seeing the sheer scale of the concentration camps.

We visited Osweicim, the town where the Auschwitz death camps were located and where, before the war, 58 per cent of the population was Jewish, before heading to the barracks and crematoria and where we witnessed the piles of personal belongings that were seized by the Nazis.

Finally, we spent time at the main death camp of Birkenau where the day concluded with candle lighting and a period of reflection to remember the six million Jews and the many other victims.

We are very lucky to have a strong Jewish community right here in Fylde and it’s absolutely vital that we never forget what happened back in those dark times and remember, at all times, that all faiths deserve to be respected.

The day before the visit I called adjournment debate in Parliament on the regulation of onshore gas.

This, of course, is vital with the work currently being carried out by Cuadrilla Resources.

My speech is available online (and probably elsewhere in the paper) so I won’t labour the point but I was pleased that the Minister gave his personal undertaking that he would consider the points I raised regarding the formation of an independent panel to scrutinise regulation.

I was very clear in stating my view that, if gas extraction cannot be done safely without compromising Fylde’s environment, it should not be done at all.

The response has been extremely positive and I’m grateful for all your kind comments.

Finally this week a roundup. Amongst other things I visited J Wareings and Sons Ltd, Kirkham Prison, Ribby Hall and an excellent performance of the Importance of Being Earnest by the Fylde Players at Lowther Pavilion.

I thank them all for making me welcome.

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