Monthly newsletter Edition 5 Sir Robert reports:- Page 2

At long last, we have learnt the Government's decision on the site for the new Synchrotron Project - and it is the wrong one. Instead of confirming Daresbury, near Warrington, as promised by Labour MPs, MEPs and Regional Assembly bigwigs, the Industry Secretary has moved it to the South. Labour has failed the North West and especially the workforce at Daresbury. So much for Tony Blair's commitment to the Regions or the "Labour heartlands". As usual, all mouth and no delivery!

I met Cheshire County Council in Chester recently and there was a useful exchange of information. But in the margins of the meeting I learnt how even Labour County Councillors were greatly exercised by the vote of their Labour MEPs in favour of the End of Life Vehicle Directive. This ill-conceived policy demands that vehicle manufacturers shall be responsible - retrospectively - for the recycling of every vehicle that they have ever made. The implications for increased prices and reduced employment that this poses for the likes of Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port, Ford's at Halewood or any other manufacturer, large or small, within our Region, is potentially disastrous. But your Labour MEPs voted for it.

Tourism is a hugely significant industry in our region and I emphasised its importance when Commissioner Likkanen came to the Transport & Tourism Committee recently. No extra regulation, no extra bureaucracy but an appreciation by the Commission of the entrepreneurial flair of the small to medium-sized firms that dominate the market, was my demand and he seemed to take my point. Time will tell.

A serious battle on our hands in Strasbourg last week - for British chocolate. Continentals prefer their own 100% cocoa variety whereas we like the unique British taste brought about by adding a small proportion of tropical vegetable fat. Apparently, the two types cannot both be called chocolate, according to the Commission. Your Conservative MEPs fought the corner, however, and won the day. So our excellent product - although different to Belgian - is just as good and just as entitled to use the chocolate label!

Discussions on the future of the EU are now getting into full swing (the IGC -InterGovernmental Conference). This is all about the inclusion of other countries, such as Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Cyprus etc., and the effects on the Institutions of Europe. Can there be as many Commissioners? Should more languages be used? Should the use of the Veto be more restricted and should there be a substantial extension of QMV (Qualified Majority Voting)? This is fundamental stuff and Conservatives need to have a clear, collective view. What do you think? I would be interested to hear from you, either as an Association or individually.

Constituency visits during the last month have included Fylde, Blackpool, Macclesfield, Altrincham and Southport, as well as meeting a number of Lancashire PPC's and being at our most successful Regional Convention at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton. Do keep those invitations coming and please use the new website.

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