North West Councillors Visit to the European Parliament
This week I was delighted to host a group of councillors from the North West to the European Parliament. They were over as part of the European Parliament’s Visitors Programme.
The visiting councillors were:
Paul Brant, Garry Bridges, Kate Chappell, Debra Ann Coleman, Michael Cordingley, Kim Critchley, Barry Doughty, Andrew Foxley, John Hacking, Stephen Hesling, Judith Kelly, Ray Mashiter, Nigel Murphy, Tom Ross, Matthew Strong and Andrew Western. I was really pleased that we had representation from Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Greater Merseyside and Lancashire. Councillors were invited from Cheshire and I would be delighted if they could come next time.
The group were over to talk to MEPs about the upcoming referendum, the work MEPs do and how this feeds into the work being done by councillors in the North West. It was a really effective two-way dialogue on how we can work together at local and European levels to the best benefit of our constituents.
We started bright and early with a meeting with EUFores (of which I am a Vice President) to discuss heating and cooling and the different options available. Councillors Nigel Murphy and Kate Chappell spoke about the fantastic work being done by the Greater Manchester Authority on this. I am asking the Commission to facilitate the exchange of good practice on energy projects right across Member States and we also need to exchange good practice in our region.
After EUFores we had a really constructive meeting between our councillors and UK Labour MEPs. Glenis Willmott started things off with a discussion about the EU Referendum. The dialogue was wide ranging and included the messages that local councils need in the run-up to the referendum.
My fellow Labour MEPs Jude Kirton-Darling, Clare Moody, Anneliese Dodds and Richard Corbett also spoke about their different areas of committee work. Manchester Councillor and Member of the Committee of the Regions, Kev Peel, joined the group.
Councillors then attended a presentation by the Visitors Service of the Parliament and had a quick trip to the Plenary Chamber.
It was really informative to have people from my region in the Parliament and great to see how what we do as MEPs feeds into the work being done at local level by our councillors. Of course, it is my pleasure to see local councillors on a regular basis back in the North West.
If you are interested in taking part in a visit to the European Parliament, please contact my office or your own MEP to arrange. We only have a certain number of visitor places per MEP so get in touch soon.