David (Centre) with Paul Morris (r) and Lord Strathclyde Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Lancashire Day was of course yesterday but as the House of Commons was not sitting the day has been marked today with a celebration of Lancashire produced food and drink held in the Jubilee Room off Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster.
I was particularly pleased to be able to welcome to Westminster Paul Morris from The Chocolate Cafe in Ramsbottom. The Chocolate Cafe was joined by representatives from Dewlay Cheese in Garstang, Crossmoor Honey Farm, Drinkwaters Mushrooms, the Fuzzy Duck Brewery and the Lancaster Brewery, Uncle Joe’s Mintballs from Wigan and Williams a family run bakery from Preston.
We were joined by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Lord Strathclyde and as proof that the War of the Roses is over I was invited to read the Lancashire Declaration as follows:
” Know ye also, and rejoice, that by virtue of Her Majesty’s County Palatine of Lancaster, the citizens of the Hundreds of Lonsdale, North and South of the Sands. Amounderness, Leyland, Blackburn, Salford and West Derby are forever entitled to style themselves Lancastrians. Throughout the County Palatine, from the Furness Fells to the River Mersey, from the Irish Sea to the Pennines, this day shall ever mark the peoples’ pleasure in that excellent distinction – true Lancastrians, proud of the Red Rose and loyal to our Sovereign Duke”.
With this the first elected representatives from Lancashire were summoned to Westminster by King Edward I on 27th November 1295.
The Daylight Saving Bill is a Private Members Bill which seeks to provide for the holding of a three year experiment on having a trial of double summer time moved a step forward last night. The Bill passed its Second Reading nearly a year ago despite the fact that at that stage it did not have Government support. Because public money will need to be spent on carrying out the trial a Resolution known as a Money Resolution is required authorising the expenditure of the required money. The significance of passing the Money Resolution is that without it the Bill cannot proceed to the next stage of the Parliament procedure which is the Committee Stage. Usually this will be a formality but in the case of the Daylight Saving Bill it has taken almost a year so it is very significant that at last that hurdle has been overcome and the Bill will now proceed into Committee and it should pass back to the Commons for Report STage and Third Reading early in 2012.
Nominations are now open for the vinspired National Awards, which celebrate the brilliant contribution that young volunteers (aged 16-25) make to their communities.
The annual awards offer an opportunity to highlight the positivity, creativity and dedication demonstrated by young volunteers across England every day. The awards also honour inspiring youth leaders, who are committed to encouraging young volunteers. For the first time this year they will include a category for outstanding National Citizen Service (NCS) teams.
If you know anyone in your community who has made an extraordinary contribution to their community please nominate them for a vinspired National Award today at www.vinspired.com/nationalawards
Nominations must be for young people living in England and for voluntary activity carried out in the last year (between August 2010 and July 2011). Nominations close on November 30, 2011.
1. Best new volunteer
2. All round commitment to volunteering
3. Bringing communities together
4. Team Activity
5. Outstanding Contribution by a Youth Worker
6. Most Outstanding National Citizen Service Team
As I usually do on Remembrance Sunday I have attended three services today to mark this special day. Starting with the official Civic Service at the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Bury Town Centre. The route of the Parade from the Town Hall to the Parish church was lined with people of all ages. There was a large crowd outside the church to witness the Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial. Inside the church was full for the actual Service and the Rector gave a thoughtful and indeed thought provoking sermon.
In the afternoon I took part in the Tottington Parade and Act of Remembrance where I undertook my duties as Churchwarden. I again laid a wreath in memory of ll those who have lost their lives in the service of the Crown.
This evening I attended what I always find the most moving service of the day. The evensong and Roll Call at St. Anne’s Parish Church. During the Act of Remembrance every name recorded on the Roll of Honour recording those who were killed in the two World Wars is read out aloud and the church bell is tolled after each name. It truly brings home the reality of the personal nature of the losses in the village.
At the eleventh hour on Friday the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 2011 I attended the Act of Remembrance which was held in Gallipoli Garden, Silver Street, Bury. A new extension to the Garden was dedicated at the same time.
Later I attended the dedication of the Memorial Garden at Wellington Barracks on Bolton Road Bury which was carried out by the Rector of Bury Reverend Dr John Findon.
Well all weeks are busy weeks but last week with the debate on holding a referendum on our membership of the European Union ( and the ensuing media bids) and this week have been especially busy.
In addition to all the extra work created by the debate I have been inundated with emails and letters from well wishers from all over the Country. I have of course also had to deal with the constant stream of individual constituent cases; deal with the rest of the Parliamentary agenda; attend the engagements I have been booked for and ……..try and see my family!
Last Saturday evening I attended an excellent concert at The Castle Armoury, Castle Street in Bury in aid of the Fusiliers Museum. The Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire) were joined by The Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band in a programme that including something to suit every musical taste.
During the week in Parliament the main business has been the Report stage of the Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill ( to use the quick title!).
I was pleased the Government has brought forward an amendment to the Bill to make squatting a criminal offence and I spoke in the debate on this new clause. I have never understood why it is so difficult for householders to be able to remove squatters and in the past the police have invariably said it was a civil matter and the law seemed to be on the side of the squatters.
On friday, I had a meeting with the local National Farmers Union. Although there are not a huge number of farmers in the Bury North constituency the farmers who are in the Constituency all have specific concerns. I consider them all as small businesses because in essence that is what they are and we all depend on their success.
I then had a meeting with traders on Crompton Street. They are anxious that the old post office building be brought back into use. It has been closed for 16 years and many people have said to me how they think it would be a real improvement if it could once again host a post office. After my usual surgery which brought the expected variety of problems I attended a dinner organised by the Bury Conservative Future Group.
Today after church I went up to the Civic Hall in Ramsbottom to attend the craft fair organised by the Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted Persons. I was pleased to hear from the various standholders that there had been a steady stream of visitors during the day.
Tomorrow, it is back to Westminster and the PM’s statement following the G20 and the Eurozone crisis will no doubt dominate the news headlines.