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.