MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week’s news has sadly been dominated by North Africa.

In the Commons on Monday, I was there to hear the Prime Minister speak of the “iron resolve” that will be required to tackle the terrorist threat emerging in North Africa, and his desire to put it at the top of the G8’s agenda under the UK’s presidency.

I welcome the Prime Minister’s stance as my thoughts have been with all those who have been affected in some way by this current situation.

Many Fylde families have relations who work in the region, and I know they are as concerned as I am. 

Notably, the hostage crisis at the Algerian gas plant serves to remind us of our commitment to developing the region, and maintaining good relations with the Governments there.

In Westminster, we can use All Party Political Groups (APPGs) to promote dialogue on issues such as this, so I am pleased to sit on the APPG on Algeria, as hopefully we can discuss these issues, and influence policy on the region.

These types of groups bring together Members of Parliament and the Lords from all sides of the House, enabling dialogue, hearings and information to be shared on any issue.

I have used this tool this week for a more local issue, in helping to set up the APPG for Unconventional Gas.

We held the group’s inaugural AGM, not to engender support one way or another, but to bring together interested parties and allow for greater understanding of this potential energy source.

While this is an issue I have been working on for well over a year, to many, it is still a new technology and I hope this group will enable wider access to information on this subject.

The theme of wider awareness also runs through two other commitments of mine in Westminster this week.

Firstly, I signed the Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment, and secondly, I attended a meeting of the APPG on Breast Cancer.

With both these issues, awareness, education and understanding is fundamental, and I was pleased to support both these worthwhile causes.

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