MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

LAST week I had the honour of attending an address by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster.

The event was for members of both houses, and it was a fitting environment in which to hear Mrs Merkel speak about the deep historic ties between Britain and Germany and the high price paid by both countries during the two world wars.

As someone who spent the early part of her life and career in communist East Germany, the Chancellor knows only too well the importance of stability in Europe and the difficulties in maintaining that.

That security is currently under threat by the rising tensions in Ukraine and it is a situation which we must do everything we can to help resolve as quickly as possible.

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has already described this as the most serious crisis to hit Europe in the 21st Century and I stand with him on that.

Usually when we are faced with situations such as this they are much further away from our shores and I do not think anyone could have predicted how quickly this unrest would escalate to the levels it has.

It just goes to show that unpredictable and volatile situations can happen close to home on our own continent and we need to be prepared for that.

The Government has to make sure it takes all these things into account when planning for the future security of the UK.

In Fylde this week I have been extremely busy having hosted a number of events and attended various openings and meetings.

On Saturday I was at the opening of new changing facilities and kitchens for St Annes FC at Blackpool Road North Playing Fields. Top facilities such as those now in place are vital if we want to keep encouraging people of all ages to maintain an interest in sport.

I then attended an open event in Lea where I met a large number of constituents who came to speak to me about a range of issues which had been on their minds.

Many of them did not even have a particular problem that they needed help with but merely wanted to come and talk to me about general points of interest, which it was very nice of them to make the time to do.

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