Monthly newsletter Edition 7 Sir Robert reports:- Page 2
My Report on Air Traffic Control has now passed through its final stages and, despite one or two unacceptable amendments made by some MEPs, is in essence still mine. It is not legislation but only a statement of views on Commission proposals to improve the congestion in our skies. Nevertheless it has been very well received by the aviation industry and I have hopes that it will provoke some reaction on the part of the EU Transport Ministers.
David Trimble, First Minister of Northern Ireland, was in Brussels recently to brief the Commission and Parliament on the current situation. I had the opportunity to talk to him about the state of play in the Province and to offer any ssistance on the Regional Affairs Committee which would facilitate practical benefits for the peace process. As a former Northern Ireland Minister, I maintain a close interest in progress there and was relieved to hear that David was optimistic about the future.
I was honoured to be asked to be Chief Guest at Millennium Speech Day at Rossall School, Fleetwood, recently. To maintain the interest of parents and pupils, to keep my words short, humorous and memorable, with hardly a mention of politics, was a daunting prospect. And a bit of a turn-up for the book, since I never won a prize at my school and just caused trouble at the back!
A splendid annual event took place in June at Fulwood Barracks, Preston, - "Beating the Retreat" - involving cadets, territorial and regular troops from all over the North West in the presence of a galaxy of Lords Lieutenant, High Sheriffs, Mayors, Senior Officers and a variety of Parliamentarians. A moving ceremony conducted with great skill, precision and musical accompaniment and truly heartening in its reminder of the commitment and patriotism of our armed forces and the old soldiers who watched them.
Visits this month have included Copeland, Liverpool, Fylde, Westmoreland, Southport, Hyndburn, South Ribble, Blackpool, Ribble Valley and Weaver Vale.