Report 27th September 2011

First Meeting 35thAnniversary Season

32 members, including new recruits: Paul Barrett, Michael Cochrane and John McLaughlin, attended the first meeting of the 35th Anniversary season.

Sadly our new Vice Chairman Bill Blades had been rushed into hospital that morning.  The Chairman Roy Howard marked the passing of veteran member Harry Thacker at the age of 92 and star speaker John Luckett at the early age of 67.

Our speaker was Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough since the 2010 election, accompanied by Megan Parry his “Work Experience” assistant for a week.  Andrew is a former member of the local council and a businessman, whose last job was with Bettys.

He told us of his experiences arriving as a new MP – the new MPs can be identified by their new suits.  To begin with he had to share a room with 12 other MPs.  Later he was made to wait for a day before catching the Speaker’s eye to make his maiden speech.  He receives over 200 items of correspondence each day and now holds surgeries in all local supermarkets as many people are reluctant to enter Conservative Headquarters.  He is keen to promote the local area and has helped to restore the evening train from London to Harrogate.  He has promoted Daleside Brewery within the Houses of Parliament – the first local man to bring barrels into the precincts since Guy Fawkes!

Afterwards Andrew answered searching question from our members on topics as diverse as the Palestinian Problem and the European Court of Human Rights.

Peter Jackson gave an amusing vote of thanks, not entirely flattering to MPs but taken in good part by our speaker who invited the forum to visit him for a tour of Parliament.

John Taylor


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