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.
Holocaust Memorial Day
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.”
JOHN WHITTINGDALE MP SUPPORTS POST OFFICE DVLA WIN
The Post Office will continue to offer accessible driving licence and tax services to millions of customers in the UK, including in Maldon.
John Whittingdale MP attended an event yesterday (Monday 21 January) to show support for the win by signing a dedicated congratulations board.
John Whittingdale MP said: “I know how important sub post offices are to local communities and I received hundreds of cards from people living in the Maldon District who were concerned about the future of their local sub post office if the Post Office failed to win the DVLA contract. I am delighted that the Post Office was successful and hope that this will help to ensure a secure future for them” Martin Moran, Commercial Director at the Post Office said: “We are delighted to have the support of John Whittingdale MP. The Post Office has a strong track record in successfully delivering essential government services. Winning the DVLA contract again is testimony to the quality of our staff and subpostmasters, whose longstanding commitment to serving local communities contributed greatly to this success.”
The Post Office secured the seven year Framework Agreement with Department of Transport in November 2012. It confirms that the Post Office will continue to deliver DVLA services from spring 2013, including:
• Driving Licence photocard renewal
• Motor Vehicle Licence Issue
• Statutory off road notices (SORN)
• Duplicate Vehicle Licence.
John presents flowers at Paralympics
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)
Mr John Whittingdale (Maldon) (Con): It is not that long since I spoke in the Chamber on the subject of individuals misleading Parliament, so I am in no doubt about the seriousness of that charge. I do not question the right of the Opposition to table the motion, but I have listened carefully to the Secretary of State and commend him for the way in which he has responded to each individual accusation and for his conduct over the past few months, which cannot have been easy.
Some have suggested that the Secretary of State should not have had a view about the bid by News Corp to acquire all of BSkyB, but one of his first responsibilities is to be the sponsoring Minister for the media industry of this country. It would have been utterly extraordinary if he did not have a view. BSkyB is one of the most important media companies in the country and plays a vital part in the future of the media: of course he would have a view about it.
Not only was the Secretary of State entitled to have a view, but I believe he held the correct view. Had the bid gone through, it would have had good implications for the survival of newspapers in this country. He was not responsible for that matter at the time; it was a quasi-judicial matter for the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
John Whittingdale visited local micro-brewer, Wibblers, in Mayland. Wibblers Brewery was started by Phil Wilcox and his father, Jeremy, in 2007. Phil began as a home brewer as an impoverished student 21 years ago with a Boots kit behind his parents' sofa. Since then, he has enjoyed success winning a number of awards and in 2007 he went commercial after "Hoppy Helper" won the Beer of the Festival atthe Maldon Beer Festival. Wibblers now produces 5 permanent beers and 6 seasonal ones and supplies Asda in East Anglia and JD Wetherspoon. The best selling beer is Apprentice which has won numerous awards including the Gold Standard at the 2011 Society of Independent Brewers East of England Competition. John is pictured with Commercial Manager, Nigel Sadler.
On Tuesday (22nd January), John Whittingdale MP joined members of the Essex Wildlife Trust in Parliament to press the Government to designate the Blackwater Estuary as a Marine Conservation Zone.
The proposed Zone will cover the Roach, Crouch, Blackwater and Colne estuaries John is pictured with John Hall, Chief Executive of the Essex Wildlife Trust, and Mike Sandison, Chairman of the Trust, who lives in the Maldon District in Maylandsea. John Whittingdale’s comments come as The Wildlife Trusts held a parliamentary event to show support for the proposed network of Marine Conservation Zones in English and offshore Welsh waters, as the Government consults on which areas should be designated. The event brought to a close The Wildlife Trusts' ‘Petition Fish’ campaign, which secured almost 250,000 signatures in support of marine protection, 14,000 of which were collected in Essex.
Petition Fish was part of The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to secure an ‘ecologically coherent’ network of Marine Protected Areas around the UK. This would allow our seas to recover from past damage and sustain current pressures.
John Whittingdale said; “I was delighted to join The Wildlife Trusts to show my support for the recommended Marine Conservation Zone network and to press the Government to include the Blackwater MCZ as one of the first designated zones. The estuary is of huge importance environmentally and it will benefit greatly from the protection that designation will bring. In particular, it will help protect the Native Oyster beds which are the UK’s rarest marine habitat. I congratulate the Essex Wildlife Trust on the work that they have done to draw up a management plan in cooperation with all those who use the estuary including the oyster fishermen and I hope that the Government will now proceed with its designation”.
Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts, said, "The recommended network of Marine Conservation Zones was chosen following an extensive process involving sea users from fishermen and the aggregates industry to divers and boat-users. The proposals represent a significant step forward towards an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas." The consultation runs until 31st March. People can respond through The Wildlife Trusts' website wildlifetrusts.org/haveyoursay
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas. Petition Fish The petition was signed by 249,859 people calling for greater marine protection in UK waters. Supporters signed silver scales and stuck them onto fish, sea horses and other marine shapes - see attached image. We can supply other images of people signing scales or with the eye-catching boards on beaches all over the country. Marine Conservation Zones 127 recommended Marine Conservation Zones were chosen after two years’ work by more than one million stakeholders from all sectors of the marine environment and at a cost of over £8.8 million to Government. You can visit all these zones on our interactive map and see some of the wonders they are home to at www.wildlifetrusts.org/MCZmap . The network was designed to ensure that special marine landscapes do not become isolated and vulnerable, and to ensure that the wide range of marine habitats found in UK seas are protected. Failure to designate all but a very small proportion of sites recommended by these stakeholders would mean that we lack the ecologically coherent network that our seas so badly need to recover. In December 2012, Defra launched its public consultation and proposed to designate only 31 of the 127 sites recommended by a broad range of sea-users through its regional projects.
Google Juice Bar
Following a study by the Boston Consulting Group that indicated that businesses who have a presence online, grow four to eight times faster than those who don’t, John Whittingdale secured a Google Juice Bar for businesses in Maldon.
On 21 December, Google came to Maldon for a day's session in the Maldon District Council offices to offer free advice and tips to business owners on how to make the most of the Internet and grow a business online, especially over the busy Christmas period. The Juice Bar is designed to support and advise businesses regardless of their technical expertise – from starting out and creating their first website, through to improving an existing website and online marketing.
John Whittingdale said: " I am delighted that Google agreed to come to Maldon to help local businesses improve their online presence and that every available slot was filled .The internet is becoming more and more important for business and I know that the businesses that attended found it very valuable".
Pictured are John Whittingdale and Cllr Bob Boyce, Leader of Maldon District Council, with three of the Google Training Staff.
Bikes and Barges
John Whittingdale attended the annual Bikes & Barges Rally on Hythe Quay, Maldon. The event was once again held in aid of SWANS (Sometimes We All Need Support). John had the job of judging the best motorcycle and chose a Sporty Chopper made by Lee Newitt of Maldon. John is shown on a New York Fire Department Harley Davidson Road King with Andy Harris of AHCC and Julia Wingfield of SWANS