Barnoldswick & Earby Time, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 30th November 2018

My weekly column from 30 November

On Tuesday, to coincide with Lancashire Day, I hosted Taste Lancashire in Parliament to celebrate the great food and drink produced in our county. The event was attended by MPs, Lords and staff from across Parliament and the first such event since 2012.

The event was the brainchild of Lancashire’s High Sheriff, Tony Attard, and brilliantly organised by Marketing Lancashire with over a dozen suppliers of everything from coffee and chocolates to preserves and pies.

Producers came from all across Lancashire, with lots from East Lancashire, including Calyx and Batch Brew from Burnley, and Nelson’s excellent Farmhouse Biscuits. Blackburn’s Piemezzanae was a real hit.

Amongst a number of eminent Lancastrians, I was able to meet up with Angie Ridgwell, the Chief Executive Lancashire County Council and ITV’s Ranvir Singh to celebrate her appointment as a Lancashire Ambassador, raising the profile of our county.

MPs from all four nations attended as did almost all Lancashire’s MPs. We even had two Cabinet Ministers and two Deputy Speakers. It was a real pleasure giving our nation’s decision makers a sample of the great things being made in our county.

Taste Lancashire took place on 27 November to coincide with Lancashire Day, which celebrates when the Red Rose County first sent representatives to Parliament in 1295. I was pleased to see local libraries marking the occasion, including Brierfield Library which hosted an afternoon tea and quiz on Lancashire.

1295 was when King Edward I called his ‘Model Parliament’, establishing who was called to Parliaments for hundreds of years. Although democracy and elections were still a long way off, it helped establishing the idea that everyone in the country should be represented. When calling the Model Parliament, the King said, “what touches all, should be approved of all.”

Over 700 years on I am honoured to continue to represent Lancashire in Parliament, pushing for the investment we need. This week, I met with Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling and the new Rail Minister, Andrew Jones to raise the campaign to reopen the Colne to Skipton line. The Government has agreed to fund a report into the viability of reopening the line, due to be published soon.