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UK and French Speakers look ahead to G7 Speakers’ conference

20 July 2021

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The Speaker of the House of Commons has offered his opposite number in France "a lovely Lancashire welcome" when he attends the G7 Speakers’ conference later this year.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he hoped to show Richard Ferrand, President of the French National Assembly, "the hospitality of the North West of England" during the prestigious summit in his Chorley constituency in September.

This year’s annual conference will focus on ‘Secure versus Open Parliaments’ following the recent riot and violent attack on Capitol Hill in the US, a shooting incident at the Canadian Parliament in 2014, and the murder of a British police officer in the Palace of Westminster in 2017.

Sir Lindsay said it was important the G7 Speakers and Presiding Officers used the gathering to share experiences and "decide how we balance public access to Parliaments while also keeping Members and staff safe".

"With so many of our parliaments having experience of terrorist attacks and our members facing threats, abuse and hostility from armchair trolls on social media, now is the time for us to join together to discuss how we can tackle such forces of evil," he said.

"Amid this climate, how do our communities raise their voices and get them heard nationally and internationally on these and other issues? These are all massively important topics for our countries."

The virtual meeting with Mr Ferrand was organised by Sir Lindsay as part of his Speaker-led UK parliamentary diplomacy to establish enduring ties between countries and parliamentarians.

Sir Lindsay said he hoped the G7 conference would help promote friendship and historic links between the UK and France – and enable the exchange of politicians and students between the two countries.

"We have so much in common, so much to share – ours is a new friendship, but one we can build on to create a good and warm working relationship," he said.

Mr Ferrand said he "couldn’t wait to experience the Lancashire lifestyle".

"The meeting of the G7 will allow us to have great fellowship and help us find ways of working together to combat security breaches," he said.