Monthly newsletter Edition 24 Sir Robert reports:- Page 2

The Party Conference was a much greater success than predicted by the media - surprise, surprise! - and your Conservative MEPs were conspicuous by their presence. The excellent relationship being established between MEPs and the Party at various levels is beginning to pay real dividends. Whether in conjunction with Councillors or Front Bench Spokesmen, we are able to assist with "early warning" of political opportunities, resource support in certain areas and, of course, by using our right to appear as elected Members in constituencies otherwise unrepresented by Conservatives. And as more prospective Council and Parliamentary Candidates are selected, we can offer encouragement, personal support and press calls whenever necessary. Congratulations, incidentally, to the first three new PPCs, Mark Bigley (Southport), Ben Wallace (Lancaster & Wyre) and former MP, Stephen Day (Cheadle).

The five "MEP Roadshows" that we held throughout the Region proved to be a great success. Nearly 500 members attended - although we could have wished for even more - and opportunities abounded for personal conversations and questioning of your NW Tory Team. The refreshments were generally superb and we enjoyed ourselves. I hope you did as well!

Two technical but important issues are going through Parliament at the moment, relating to (1) Professional Qualifications and (2) Emissions Trading.

The first concerns the need to ensure that the right to freedom of employment within the EU - vital to the single market - carries with it the responsibility to be properly trained, with a professional competence that is acceptable and agreed throughout Europe. The proposed Directive allows up to sixteen weeks work before notification to the relevant authorities and Tory MEPs think that is an unacceptable delay. Appropriate amendments are being tabled.

The second issue affects the environment and is a proposal to force those industries or companies who are major emitters of pollutants to reduce their emissions but also to enable them to trade the resulting allowances with lesser emitters. The overall balance of pollution will decline, therefore, but large companies in highly-developed countries like ours will not suffer unreasonably. The UK has an excellent record in the field - largely because of the legislation put in place by the last Conservative Government - but there is always room for improvement. This scheme will be beneficial for the environment and offer a real opportunity for British industry to lead the way in Europe.

Labour MEPs again voted to damage certain sectors of our industrial base in supporting measures to reduce sulphur levels in "Red Diesel" fuel. This will increase bills by 10%+ in the agricultural, fishing and construction industries at a particularly difficult time for them. Just when will Labour and Liberal MEPs fight for British interests?

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