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.