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UK Speaker leads G7 discussion on protecting Parliaments from terrorism

18 June 2021

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The UK Speaker of the House of Commons is to welcome seven of the world’s most important politicians to the North-West of England later this year for the annual G7 Speakers’ conference.

Traditionally held in the local area of the host Speaker, the conference will take place on 17-19 September 2021, with Sir Lindsay Hoyle saying he could think of ‘no better place in the country than his constituency of Chorley’ in which to host his international counterparts.

Chorley, famous for its historic markets, and proud home to a golden post box in honour of Olympic Champion Bradley Wiggins' London 2012 Olympic Gold Medal, will welcome Speakers and Presiding Officers representing Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and European Parliament to their first face-to-face meeting since the pandemic began.

Those attending will include: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives; Richard Ferrand, the President of the French National Assembly; Roberto Fico, President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies; David Sassoli, President of the EU Parliament, and representatives from Germany, Canada and Japan. The theme of the Speakers’ G7 is ‘Secure versus Open Parliaments?’

Launching the G7 at Astley Hall, Chorley, Sir Lindsay said: "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.

"How do we balance public access to Parliaments as well keeping Members and staff safe? 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.

"I look forward to welcoming my counterparts to one of the most beautiful parts of the UK – to the town where I was born and brought up - to Lancashire and the North-West.

"I hope to offer the Speakers and Presiding Officers the chance to sample the best of Lancashire hospitality, from Morecambe Bay shrimps to Lancashire creamy, crumbly and tasty cheeses and beautiful scenery at Hoghton Tower, Rivington and Duxbury Woods, in person and not via Zoom!"

The UK is hosting a number of summits as president of the G7, with the Speakers’ conference - which includes Presiding Officers of the G7 and the President of the European Parliament – traditionally being held in the host Speaker’s local area or constituency.

The Speakers’ conference is a chance for representatives to come together to exchange experiences, opinions and information, primarily on parliamentary matters, such as the role of parliaments and the organisation of parliamentary functions in a rapidly changing world.

Marketing Lancashire said the Chorley-based conference would not only raise the profile of the North-West, but estimates it could bring in millions of pounds of extra revenue to the region’s tourist and hospitality industry.

Rachel McQueen, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: "This is an incredible opportunity to show off the beauty and heritage of our county, at the heart of the North-West, which already attracts over 67 million visitors a year. We cannot over-estimate the value that this international profile will bring to Chorley and to Lancashire."

Edwin Booth, Lancashire’s High Sheriff and CEO of the supermarket chain Booths, said: ‘Sir Lindsay has been a wonderful advocate for his constituency and the county of Lancashire. He has brought the same enthusiasm to his role as Speaker of the House, a responsibility that he performs with good humour and fairness.

"Lancashire welcomes the G7 Speakers’ Conference to a county with diversity at its core, both in industry and its cultural heritage."

Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: "This will be the first time ever that Chorley has hosted an international conference. We are deeply honoured that our local MP, who is also Speaker of the House of Commons, has chosen Astley Hall as the venue for the Speakers’ G7.

"We believe the hall is the jewel in our crown and we are so proud that we will be able to show Speakers from across the world this special part of our heritage."

David Tetlow, Arts and Heritage Manager at Chorley Council said: "We are absolutely thrilled an event of such magnitude will be taking place at Astley Hall. It is a treasure trove of rich history and it is a delightfully apt venue for the Speakers to meet.

"Astley Hall is the centrepiece of the award-winning Astley Park and this will be the first time a conference such as this has taken place here." Fresh from its restoration of the original brickwork and its elegant windows, the summit will form part of a wider exciting events programme for the hall and park including Chorley Flower Show taking place on 30, 31 July and 1 August.


Image credit: Ian Robinson