John Whittingdale’s support for pubs has been recognised as he received a new “Beer Champion” award in Parliament. The special award is a joint initiative from the British Beer & Pub Association, the Campaign for Real Ale, and the Society of Independent Brewers and recognises John’s role in supporting the brewing industry and pubs, and his successful campaigning for an end to the Beer Duty Escalator and a cut in Beer Duty which was announced by the Chancellor in last year’s Budget.

John Whittingdale said: “Pubs play a vital role in local communities and need support. In the Maldon constituency, we have 90 Pubs and four breweries, directly providing over 1,000 jobs. After successive tax increases totalling 42 per cent over 4 years, I am delighted that the Chancellor listened to our concerns and cut the duty on Beer. This will provide a real boost to local pubs and I am proud to be recognised as a Parliamentary Beer Champion”

John is pictured receiving his certificate with Keith Bott of the Society of Independent Brewers, Brigid Simmonds of the British Beer and Pub Association and Colin Valentine of the Campaign for Real Ale.

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day this week, John Whittingdale signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, honouring those who died during the Holocaust as well as honouring the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured.

Monday 27th January will mark the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

John Whittingdale said: “Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that John Whittingdale is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. It is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.”

On Tuesday 10th December, John Whittingdale MP attended an event in Westminster organised by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, to raise awareness of its annual Christmas campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event, hosted by Neil Parish MP, celebrated the 35th anniversary of the iconic Dogs Trust slogan; “A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas”. The phrase was coined in 1978 by the charity’s CEO, Clarissa Baldwin OBE, in a bid to highlight the issue of dogs being given as Christmas gifts, and indeed all year round, and later abandoned when the novelty wears off.

MPs were given the opportunity to take a festive Dogs Trust sleigh ride and meet a large number of furry friends. These pooches, however, were all stuffed toys – the only suitable kind of dog to give as a gift! Attendees also learned more about the charity’s annual campaign, which encourages people to pause and think carefully before taking on a dog, especially during the festive season.

John said: “I am delighted to support Dogs Trust and help the charity mark the 35th anniversary of its famous slogan, which is as important now as it ever has been. A dog is a lifetime commitment and should never be bought on impulse as if it were a new television or a pair of shoes. This message is particularly poignant during the festive season, when people are buying all sorts of gifts on a whim without necessarily considering the consequences. I would urge anyone thinking of buying a dog or puppy as a Christmas present to ‘paws’ before doing so, and remember that A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas.”

Clarissa Baldwin OBE, Dogs Trust CEO said: “We are delighted that so many MPs are supporting us once again in raising awareness for our annual Christmas campaign. Although our iconic slogan is known all over the world, we still see dogs and puppies all too frequently purchased as inappropriate Christmas gifts. It is clear that our message is as poignant now as it was in 1978, which is why it so encouraging to see MPs get behind our message that a dog really is for life”.

Every year since 1978, Dogs Trust has campaigned to highlight the problems surrounding dogs being given as gifts at Christmas and all year round. The charity aims to curb this problem by educating people about responsible dog ownership and about the potential risks of buying pets on an impulse, be it in pet shops, directly through breeders, or online.

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 16,000 abandoned and unwanted dogs a year through its nationwide network of 18 rehoming centres. For more information about Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk.

Dogs Trust is due to open its Essex rehoming centre in Wickford in Spring 2014.

John Whittingdale MP has shown his support for James Wharton’s European Union (Referendum) Bill. The Bill will set in legislation a requirement that the British public will be given the chance to vote on our membership of the EU in 2017. If the Bill is passed, any future Government will be unable to break the commitment to hold a referendum in 2017 unless they pass legislation to reverse it.

John Whittingdale had the opportunity to speak in the debate which saw James Wharton introduce his Bill to Parliament in July 2013. He said:

“Since joining this House I have voted against the Maastricht Treaty, the Nice Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, and I have seen successive Prime Ministers from both sides come back to this House and claim triumph either because they made what was on the table slightly less damaging than it would have been or because they had managed to negotiate an opt-out for this country. It is clear that the people in the other countries of the EU have a different vision – or at least their Governments do – as to the direction we should be moving in. It is time the British people are able to express a view on the truth, not as set out in 1975, and about the direction we know the EU wants to go in.

“I hope the Prime Minister is successful in negotiating a new relationship. If he succeeds in doing so, I will be cheering him and I will campaign for a yes vote, but unless we have a different type of relationship, my next campaign in a referendum will be for a no vote.”

John is pictured with James Wharton MP

John Whittingdale today took part in celebrations of the FA's 150th anniversary.

An Early Day Motion was tabled, with John's support which read:

That this House congratulates the Football Association (FA) on the occasion of its 150th anniversary on 26 October 2013; notes that the FA is the oldest governing body in football; commends the FA's not-for-profit commitment to supporting football since 1863; further commends the £100 million invested by the FA annually into football including facilities for grassroots football, coaching programmes for boys and girls, and development programmes for people with disabilities; welcomes the FA's valuable contribution to and support of the national game; and looks forward to hearing the progress of the newly-appointed FA Commission into English Football.

 


Last night John Whittingdale, Member of Parliament for Maldon, presented the Rural Fair Share Petition signed by residents of St Lawrence in Maldon. 25 other Members of Parliament representing rural constituencies presented petitions in similar terms.

The Rural Fair Share campaign is calling on the Government to address the ongoing disparity in funding between rural and urban areas.

The Petition is asking the Government to reduce the Rural Penalty – which sees urban areas receive 50% more support per head than rural areas – by at least 10% by 2020.

John Whittingdale said: “Overall rural residents earn less, on average, than those in cities, pay council tax which is £76 more per person but see urban areas receive Government grants worth 50% more per head than those in the countryside.

“Delivering services in sparsely populated rural areas like the Maldon District also tends to be more expensive, which can add to the burden.

“The Government is proposing to freeze this position until 2020. Freezing the system is indefensible, locking-in past unfairness and stopping changes the Government has itself agreed from actually being implemented.

”It is deeply unfair that, at a time when local authority budgets are under such pressure, that Maldon District Council and other rural authorities are penalised by a system which is so biased towards urban areas. I am very pleased that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, was in the Chamber to hear the presentations of the petitions and we have also written to the Prime Minister to urge the Government to put this right”.

Graham Stuart MP, Co-Founder of the Rural Fair Share campaign said: “The rural voice has been too quiet and too easily ignored for too long. We need a change so that the money councils get from the Government is based on need, not a political fix. We want to see the Rural Penalty reduced so it is no more than 40% by 2020. This will be fair to urban and rural people alike.”

It is with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Margaret Thatcher today. She will be remembered as one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers. Under her leadership, the prospects of this country were transformed and Britain’s reputation in the eyes of the world was restored. However, for those of us who worked closely with her, we will remember her as someone who inspired huge loyalty as a result of her personal kindness and compassion. I will always regard it as the greatest privilege to have worked for her and today mourn the passing of a great prime minister and a great lady.

 

This week John Whittingdale signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust.

Sunday January 27th will mark the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today.

In signing the Book of Commitment, John Whittingdale paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach programme. In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. This year, people will also be encouraged to honour those communities that have been destroyed by genocide and reflect on the importance of coming together to oppose prejudice and hatred.

John said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.” Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that John Whittingdale is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day this year. It is vitally important that we both remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge all forms of hatred and bigotry.” 

 

Maldon MP. John Whittingdale, was asked by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to present flowers to 3 sets of medallists in the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, 2nd September.

John presented flowers to each of the three medal winners in the Women’s Shotput F54/55/56, the Men’s Javelin Throw F33/34 and the Women’s 200 metres T46

John, who is Chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: “Having spent 7 years chairing the Committee monitoring preparations for the Games, it was a tremendous honour to be asked to present the flowers to the Paralympic medal winners in the Olympic Stadium. The atmosphere in the Stadium was tremendous and even though TeamGB did not win a medal in these particular categories, the warmth of the crowd’s reception was very moving. Coming after such a successful Olympic Games, the Paralympics have been truly inspiring, demonstrating the courage, determination and ability of so many remarkable athletes. I hope that they will also have helped to transform attitudes to disabled people and the challenges they face”.

John is pictured with the three medal winners in the Women’s Shot Put F54/55/56 category: Gold Medal: Liwan Yang (China) Silver Medal: Marianne Buggenhagen (Germany) Bronze Medal: Angela Madsen (USA)

 

John Whittingdale with Members of the House of Commons Select Committee on a recent visit to the Olympic Park.

It is now nearly seven years since the day on which it was declared that London would be the host city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, and I suspect that almost everyone will remember where they were and their reaction when the news was announced.

It was undoubtedly fantastic news for Britain, and it was rightly celebrated, but I think that quite a lot of us also thought, “Oh dear, what do we do next?” One of the things that the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which I chair, decided to do was to hold regular sessions to monitor and scrutinise the work being done to prepare for the greatest sporting event that this country has held. Over the past seven years we have held annual sessions with the chairmen and chief executives of the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport—first Tessa Jowell and now my right hon. Friend Mr Hunt.

It is worth observing at this point that one of the striking things about the policy towards and preparation for the Olympics is that not only did London’s bid enjoy cross-party support from the start, but in all the time since it was announced as the host city, despite occasional, small differences across the Chamber, which were inevitable, in the main both parties have worked well together. Certainly, I believe that my party did what it could to support the right hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood when she was Secretary of State, and since then she has worked with us to ensure that the preparations go ahead smoothly and are not marred by partisanship or political point scoring.

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The Rio carnival came to the Houses of Parliament as part of WWF’s Earth Hour 2012  

John Whittingdale MP committed to switch off the lights for WWF’s Earth Hour 2012 and to supporting the environment summit in Rio. WWF’s Earth Hour is a simple idea that has become a global phenomenon, with hundreds of millions of people turning off their lights on March 31 at 8.30pm to show they want to create a brighter future for the planet. Last year 135 countries, hundreds of millions of people and famous landmarks from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace in London to the India Gate in New Delhi took part in WWF’s Earth Hour.

The global event comes only a few weeks before another vital appointment for the 2012 environment calendar. In June, the Brazilian city famous in the world for its beautiful carnival will host the environment summit and MP is already showing support by signing up to WWF’s Earth Hour. The Rio summit is a crucial moment for world leaders to discuss vital themes for the future, such as sustainable food, water and energy, and also assess what progress has been made since the first summit twenty years ago.

Colin Butfield, WWF’s head of campaigns said: ‘Earth Hour is not about saving an hour’s electricity. It’s something much bigger. It’s about people coming together to put the focus on this brilliant world we all share – and how we need to protect it. Not just for an hour a year, but every day.’ “This year’s Rio conference is a fundamental moment for world leaders to commit to doing something tangible about the planet and taking part in Earth Hour is a small but important step that everyone can take on the 31st of March” 

John Whittingdale MP said, “I encourage people in to sign up and do something special during Earth Hour: from simply reading a book with your children, to a candlelit dinner party, everyone can show that they care for the environment”. For more information on WWF’s Earth Hour, please visit www.earthhour.wwf.org.uk 

 John Whittingdale meets the Cod Crusaders in Fraserburgh.

Pictured are: David Davidson MSP, Mrs Morag Ritchie (Cod Crusaders), Ted Brocklebank MSP, Mrs Carole MacDonald (Cod Crusaders) John Whittingdale, Peter Duncan (Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland), Owen Paterson MP (Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries).

John Whittingdale visits Brixham harbour to meet local fishermen and representatives of the industry.

Pictured are: Jim Portus (Chief Executive of South Western Fish Producers Organisation) Sir Simon Day (Fisheries spokesman, Committee of the Regions of the European Union), John Whittingdale, Neil Parish MEP, Conservative Agriculture and Fisheries Spokesman in the European Parliament and Mrs Sheryll Murray, former Chairman of the SWFPO.

John Whittingdale together with other members of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in the Olympic Stadium, Berlin, where the finals of the 2006 Football World Cup will be played.

John Whittingdale face to face with Daleks!

As a fan since boyhood of Dr Who, John could not refuse the chance to meet a Dalek and former Dr Who assistant Elizabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane when both visited the House of Commons to mark the 40th anniversary of the Time Lord in November.

Did you know...the 1973 story, Carnival of Monsters, was filmed in the Maldon and East
Chelmsford constituency around Tillingham Marshes.

The Conservative Party has launched a new fishing advisory group, with the aim of restoring national control over the industry.

The initiative was pioneered by John Whittingdale, the Shadow Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, who has announced plans to visit major fishing communities around the British coast before unveiling a new policy based on managing the UK fishing stock nationally.
Organisations from all over the country attended a launch meeting at Westminster, including the Scottish White Fish Producers, The Fishermen's Association, the Shellfish Association, Folkestone's Fishermen's Association, the South Western Fish Producer Organisation, non-sector Inshore Fishermen, the Northern Producer Organisation, The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, Northern Ireland Fish Producer Organisation, and the Cod Crusaders Campaign.

Describing the EU's Common Fisheries Policy as a disaster, Mr Whittingdale declared: "I am delighted that so many leaders of the fishing industry across the country are willing to help us. I am also very encouraged by the measure of agreement about key issues and how they must be tackled."
Key issues under discussion were ways of managing fish stocks nationally, how to develop a selective fishing policy using modern scientific methods, exploring new methods of controlling fishing activity and banning industrial fishing instead of the current EU quota system, and eliminating discards and black fish.

Mr Whittingdale told conservatives.com: "We will now visit a number of fishing communities across the UK to talk directly to those involved. In time, we expect to visit other countries that already have successful national management schemes. In the long term we will come forward with details as to how a Conservative government will establish a management scheme outside the CFP."

During the Select Committee’s visit to California in May, members were taken on a tour of Fox Studios in Los Angeles where, among many other productions, the Simpsons is made.


Pictured are John Whittingdale MP, Chairman of the Committee, Adrian Sanders MP, Janet Anderson MP, Bart Simpson (topiary version!) Philip Davies MP, Adam Price MP, Paul Farrelly MP, Ray Gallagher (Committee Specialist) Martin Gaunt (Committee Clerk) and Alan Keen MP

John Whittingdale again showed his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day by signing a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to honour those who perished in the Holocaust.

As in previous years, Holocaust Educational Trust placed the Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to give MPs the opportunity to pledge that they will uphold the memory of the Holocaust and oppose hatred today.

In doing so, John paid tribute to those individuals who had the courage to ‘Stand up to Hatred’ in many different ways; by joining resistance movements such as The White Rose at the University of Munich; by speaking out to challenge the hatred being that surrounded them; or by risking their own life to rescue others in danger.

January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous concentration and extermination camp.

On and around Holocaust Memorial Day, schools, local communities and faith groups from across the UK will join together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Thousands of events are being held across the country to commemorate all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust and in more recent genocides. Ultimately the aim of the day is to motivate people – individually and collectively, to ensure that the horrendous crimes, racism and victimization committed during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides are neither forgotten nor repeated again.

This year is the ninth year that the anniversary of the liberation of the camp has been officially commemorated in the UK. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the day passing the Holocaust Memorial Day resolution.

John said “Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and it should also serve as an opportunity to remember and reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Racism and hate are still very much present in our society and together we have a duty to unite our communities and “Stand Up to Hatred”. It is essential to continue to educate youngsters about the Holocaust and encourage them to work together towards a better future”.

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said:

“We are delighted that John Whittingdale is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. Holocaust Memorial Day and Holocaust education is more important now than ever. This year’s topic, “Stand Up to Hatred” highlights the importance of joining forces against hatred, prejudice and intolerance. Sadly antisemitism, Islamaphobia, Holocaust denial, racism, prejudice and even genocide still continue to pollute our world today.  At the Holocaust Educational Trust we endeavour to impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, across all communities so they can see where hate and racism can ultimately lead. It is the participation of all communities and the support of schools, local groups and local government that give this day the impact it has around the country and we applaud their commitment to ensuring the lessons of the past are learnt, acted upon and disseminated.”

 

MPs PLEDGE COMMITMENT TO HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 27th January, the Holocaust Educational Trust has organised for Members of Parliament to sign the Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment to honour the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust and pay tribute to the bravery of those who risked their lives to help the persecuted.

From Monday 23rd January to Wednesday 25th January the Book of Commitment was placed in the House of Commons for Members to sign.
John Whittingdale said: “We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust. Remembering the evil of fascism from the past compels us to fight racism and anti-Semitism today. We all have an obligation and role in combating bias and hate and Holocaust Memorial Day is one way to confront it.”
On January 27th schools, universities and local communities throughout the country will mark Britain’s sixth Holocaust Memorial Day. Hundreds of events are being held across Britain to commemorate all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis in the Holocaust.

This year’s theme, ‘One Person Can Make a Difference,’ celebrates the courage of the rescuers and helpers who enabled the persecuted to survive and gave them hope and friendship in a time of loneliness and despair. The theme also offers every single person in the country the opportunity to challenge their own current behaviour and moral choices, forcing themselves to ask the question – ‘What would I have done if I had been there?’

 

John supports Churches in their Petition to 10 Downing Street, 27 January 2003.

Members of the RSCM, together with others from over 200 choirs, orchestras, and other instrumental groups contributed to a petition of 8,149 signatures against the Government's plan to impose an "Arts Tax" in the form of licensing charges to churches for hosting secular concerts.
The petition was delivered to 10 Downing Street by:

John Whittingdale OBE MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport)
Baroness Peta Buscombe (Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Lords)
Cheryl Gillan MP (Member for Chesham and Amersham)
David Meacock (the petition's organiser, professional conductor and pianist)
Dr Michael O'Connor (Warden, RSCM)
Neil Hoyle (Chief Executive, Incorporated Society of Musicians)

 

John Whittingdale attended a reception organised by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games to be briefed on preparations and on the potential benefits for Essex from London hosting the Games.


John is pictured with Olympic Gold Triple Jumper, Jonathan Edwards and Olympic Silver diver, Leon Taylor with his medal from the Athens Games in 2004.

John used to work with Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister and remmains a close friend. Pictured together at the No Turning Back Group Christmas dinner in December

John Whittingdale supports the International League for the Protection of Horses.

John Whittingdale pictured, meeting representatives of the International League for the Protection of Horses lobby of Parliament against the lifting of the export ban on live horses for slaughter on 31 March.

My Conservative colleague, James Gray MP, the Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, has campaigned tirelessly, in conjunction with groups such as the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), to bring attention to this issue. We held an exhibition in the House of Commons in April and also secured an Adjournment debate on 31st March to discuss the issue.

Under the current Minimum Values Legislation, the export of horses and ponies is effectively banned with the exception of high value horses for breeding and for competition. The UK’s exemption had been under threat by EU proposals to revise animal transport regulations and it had appeared that the Government was failing to protect our position. This would have resulted in the resumption of the live export of low-value horses for salami, which we, as a nation of horse lovers, find nauseating.

British MEPs, led by my Conservative colleagues, Neil Parish MEP and Roger Helmer MEP, successfully secured an opt-out provision in the European Parliament which would have enabled the UK to prevent the live export of horses to slaughter abroad and this was endorsed by the EU Commissioner in charge of the legislation. Despite this, the Government still continued to ignore our efforts. In the end the Government was saved from having to show its true colours as agreement on the animal transport proposals collapsed at an EU Council Meeting in April.

You will be relieved to hear that our campaign appears to have been successful in convincing the Government at last to accept the merits of retaining the minimum values legislation. Alun Michael MP, the Minister for the Horse, replied to a Parliamentary question from James Gray MP in June explaining that the Government was not in favour of the live export of horses for slaughter and that it would continue to operate the export rules until they succeeded in obtaining an EU-wide agreement. As I am sure you will agree this is welcome news and a testament to the efforts of all those involved in our campaign.

 

John Whittingdale and Olympian Rebecca Romero add gold to community sports clubs campaign.

John Whittingdale joined up with two-time Olympic medallist Rebecca Romero this week to support CCPR’s Subs for Clubs campaign. Romero, track cycling gold medallist in Beijing, as well as silver rowing medallist in Athens was in the House of Commons to show off her medals and tell MPs about the importance of community sports clubs.

The aim of CCPR’s Subs for Clubs campaign is to allow Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) to claim Gift Aid on junior membership subscriptions – just as organisations like the National Trust are permitted to do on their subscriptions. Currently 51% of sports clubs operate at a deficit or just manage to break even.

The cost would be small - £1.2 million in the first year rising to £4.4 million by 2012 – but the value to community sport would be enormous, allowing clubs to improve their facilities, train and improve their coaches, and re-invest in vital kit.

Rebecca Romero, 2008 Olympic track cycling champion and 2004 rowing silver medallist said:“Without grassroots provision, elite success is not possible. Even though we do not know who many of them are yet, our Olympic champions of the future are being given a chance to succeed at community sports clubs across the country. This is why it is so vital that community clubs are given as much financial help and support as possible. Allowing them to reclaim Gift Aid on junior subscriptions is a step in the right direction.”

John Whittingdale said: “With an ageing and growing population, as well as an obesity crisis looming, we have to support sports clubs which help us to lead healthy and active lives. Community sport is the base from which elite success springs and I am particularly proud that xxx (my constituency) has a variety of sports clubs so that people can get involved.

“This is why I support CCPR’s Subs for Clubs campaign to allow sports clubs to claim Gift Aid on junior subscriptions, providing a much needed resource for these clubs who contribute so much to our community.”

John Whittingdale visited the new Wembley Stadium in his capacity as Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select committee, to see how construction was progressing.

Also pictured are Janet Anderson MP, Paul Farrely MP and Adrian Sanders MP. 

John attends the Wildlife Trust's call for a Marine Bill.

John Whittingdale MP is supporting The Wildlife Trusts’ call for a Marine Bill in next month’s Queen’s Speech. Pictured here are John, Andy May (Conservation manager Essex Wildlife Trust) and Michele Kench (Media and Marketing Manager, Essex Wildlife Trust)

He attended their Petition Fish reception in the House of Commons where The Wildlife Trusts – along with representatives from individual Wildlife Trusts - showcased their fish with signed scales. They have gathered more than 150,000 signatures on scales from around the UK over the summer. At the event, The Wildlife Trusts launched their report Marine Reserves: TLC for our seas and sea life2.

John Whittingdale said: ‘I was encouraged to see the strength of public support for a Marine Bill which The Wildlife Trusts have gathered with their Petition Fish. Their report on Marine Reserves highlights the importance of this campaign. We have extraordinarily rich seas around the UK. They are home to more than 44,000 plants and animal species, from intricate corals and seahorses to seals and dolphins.

‘Our seas also play a critical role in regulating our climate. When healthy, they soak up vast amounts of carbon dioxide and release oxygen for us to breath. But this is all threatened by over-exploitation through activities such as overfishing, sand and gravel extraction, waste dumping and so on. We need to look after our seas far better. This is why we need a Marine Bill with effective powers for Marine Reserves - in next month’s Queen’s Speech.

Michael Allen, chairman of The Wildlife Trusts, said: ‘We have been delighted with the 150,000 signatures that Wildlife Trusts from around the UK have gathered for our Petition Fish. It shows there is public support for protecting our marine environment.

‘We have a unique patchwork of marine habitats around our coast with meadows of seagrass, forests of kelp, gardens of colourful sponges and corals, and moonscapes of sand and mud riddled with the burrows of millions of shellfish and worms. Not only does this report demonstrate the urgent need for a Marine Bill which includes effective legal measures to designate Marine Reserves but it also sets out how Marine Reserves might operate.

‘We appreciate the cross party support we have received for a Bill and urge the Government to include the Bill in next month’s Queen’s Speech.’

The Petition Fish are an innovative way of gathering petition signatures. The fish are large, brightly coloured cut-outs, representing four charismatic or endangered UK fish (cod, triggerfish, wrasse and plaice). After the launch of Petition Fish in the House of Commons in June, MPs and individual Wildlife Trusts gathered signatures on scales all around the UK. The fish with signed scales ‘shoaled’ on Westminster for the reception to demonstrate the support for the Marine Bill.

The Wildlife Trusts’ report Marine Reserves: TLC for our seas and sea life is available on the website www.wildlifetrusts.org


 

John Whittingdale meets Geoff Hurst, hero of the 1966 World Cup final, and gets the opportunity to hold the World Cup.