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BILL WIGGIN MP

MP for North Herefordshire

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A message from Bill Wiggin MP – Remembrance Sunday and Huj

This time of year is a particularly significant one for all MPs and citizens of the British Isles, particularly those, like me, who have served or serve in the Armed Forces, or whose family members serve or have served. On Remembrance Sunday we will commemorate the fallen, all those who gave up their futures so that we can enjoy ours.

The incredible courage and bravery of our armed forces is one of the aspects of Britain I am most proud of, and this is why I have never missed a Remembrance Day Parade in my constituency since I was elected in 2001. Each year I rotate through the four major market towns in my constituency, and attend the Parade in either Bromyard, Kington, Ledbury or Leominster with occasional visits to the base at Credenhill.

However, this year marks the centenary of the Affair at Huj, in Palestine. It is 100 years since British troops, our Warwickshire Yeomanry led by Col Gray Cheape and the Worcestershire Hussars, led by my Grandfather in what was possibly the last successful cavalry charge in our history.

The cavalry charge at Huj took place on 8th November 1917, after which my grandfather, Major Bill Wiggin, was put forward for the Victoria Cross for his incredible bravery, which I will be commemorating this weekend at the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry Museum.

The Warwickshire and Worcestershire regiments near Huj in 1917 numbered no more than 170, and charged 3 separate artillery batteries and some 2000 Turkish infantry, as well as Austrian Gunners. My grandfather was part of the charge against the first battery, and though his men suffered heavy losses, including their Captain, and he himself was wounded in the head and the arm, he rallied the men to lead a charge across open desert towards a second artillery battery.

Thankfully, given the numerical disadvantage, the stunning bravery and gallantry of the British cavalry with swords drawn, forced the Turkish army into full retreat, leaving the route to Jerusalem open for the Allied Forces to march into. This was an significant change to the conflict.

I wanted to write this piece so that those who do not see me in the market towns this Sunday will know that where I am, and be reassured that the memory of our fallen heroes is as important to me today as it ever has been, but also to share with you my personal pride in the example of my grandfather, who charged with 170 men against 2000 infantry, machine guns and 3 artillery formations.  I shall be celebrating the bravery and sacrifice of so many more who have served our country over the course of the last century in Warwick with the relatives of others whose family members fought at the Huj in 1917. This will prevent me from attending a constituency Remembrance Parade as usual this Sunday, but I will of course be paying my respects to the fallen of Herefordshire this weekend.

I hope you will join with me in paying my respects to all those who have fought for our values, our liberty and our freedoms over the centuries, and particularly to those who have given their lives so that we can live ours in peace and freedom. We must never forget their incredible sacrifice.

 

Note: The image is a replica of a painting by Lady Butler, depicting the Charge at Huj led by Major Wiggin on 8th November 1917.

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Bill Wiggin MP and ‘Canary Girls’ meet with Prime Minister

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, today attended a special meeting with Prime Minister, Theresa May, alongside members of a group of munitions workers dubbed the ‘Canary Girls’.

There was a major Royal Ordnance Filling Factory in Rotherwas in Herefordshire which, at its peak, employed over 4000 Herefordshire women.

Mr Wiggin had previously asked the Prime Minister during Prime Ministers Questions if she would meet with these women to formally recognise their service.

Today’s meeting marked the end of Mr Wiggin’s campaign to officially recognise the war efforts of these people, who until 2012 were not invited to march at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

Speaking after the meeting Bill Wiggin MP commented:

“I was thrilled that some of these incredibly brave women were able to come and meet with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street today.

I had previously discussed this with the Prime Minister and campaigned in Parliament for these brave men and women to receive formal recognition of their efforts. I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for taking time out of her busy schedule to meet some of these canary girls to recognise their service.

Tragically, those in attendance represent only a fraction of the huge number who served our country so valiantly. They did an exceptionally dangerous job, both filling the bombs and from the threat of Luftwaffe bombing raids.

Their work was absolutely vital to the war effort, and I was so pleased to be present at the meeting where they received this thoroughly deserved recognition for their remarkable service.”

Bill Wiggin MP delight after helping North Herefordshire family resolve UKVI dispute

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has today expressed his delight at helping a Fownhope family resolve a dispute with UK Visas and Immigration.

The Moore family, from Fownhope in Mr Wiggin’s North Herefordshire constituency had previously contacted Mr Wiggin to seek his assistance in reaching a resolution to a dispute with the Home Office. Although Shiho Konno is married to Mr Moore, a British citizen, and they have a six-year-old child who holds a British passport, Mrs Konno had received a notice of refusal of application for her leave to remain in the UK.

Mrs Konno faced being forced to return to her native Japan, in order to make an application to the Home Office. The Moore family feared the process could split the family for between six – nine months.

Mr Wiggin, upon learning of the Moore family’s plight, contacted the Home Secretary on their behalf to seek an urgent review of the case. Mr Wiggin was delighted that his intervention brought about a timely resolution to the case; the Home Office having subsequently contacted Mrs Konno to inform her that she has been granted leave to remain in the UK.

Commenting, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“I was very pleased to be able to help the Moore family in this matter. I work hard to assist all of my constituents, and I am very aware of how distressing cases such as these can be for families. Immigration is a sensitive topic but I am delighted that common sense has prevailed and the Moore family have achieved the result that we all wanted. I wish them a happy and prosperous time in North Herefordshire moving forward.”

Mr Moore commented: “We are most grateful for the support of Bill Wiggin in rescuing us from years of limbo as we slid down the rabbit hole in to the realm of the Home Office appeals process.”

Bill Wiggin MP delight at announcement of £4 million scheme to boost rural doctors

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has today welcomed the announcement of a £4 million scheme to boost the number of doctors in rural and coastal areas of England.

Under the new scheme, announced by Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, newly-qualified GPs are to be offered a one-off payment of £20,000 if they start their careers in areas that struggle to attract family doctors. The one-off payment will be offered to 200 GPs from 2018.

Commenting on the announcement, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“I am delighted at the announcement of this scheme, which I hope will provide a real boost to my constituency of North Herefordshire. The £4 million of extra funding for rural GPs is further evidence that the Government are investing in rural areas to ensure vital local services like healthcare are protected.

The town of Kington in my constituency has long struggled to attract resident GPs, and so I have written to the Health Secretary to ask if some of the £20,000 initial payments to newly qualified doctors could be earmarked for Kington Medical Practice, in order to help a young GP set up a life there.

One of my key pledges during the last election was to sustain my campaign for crucial rural services such as education and I very much hope that this scheme can be deployed to help my constituents, many of whom are elderly and struggle to travel the long distances to their next nearest General Practice.”

 

 

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes 5 year animal cruelty sentencing

Bill Wiggin MP today expressed his delight at the news that the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, will be bringing forward legislation to increase the maximum prison sentence given to those who are cruel to animals.

Bill has long campaigned for increased animal cruelty sentences, and indeed put forward proposals to increase the sentences, which previously stood at a maximum of only 6 months, under the last Labour government. These proposals were voted down by the Labour government, and Mr Wiggin today said, “I am delighted that the Conservative Party has acted upon this campaign, which I have been heavily involved in for the last decade, to increase the sentences for those who are unimaginably cruel to animals”.

This policy announcement comes off the back of a question Bill asked to the Prime Minister at PMQs earlier this year, bringing up the plight of the animals who were violently abused by their owners, who were rarely sufficiently punished for their cruelty.

Bill will continue to support this proposal as it makes its way through Parliament, and is looking forward to increasing the sentencing power available to our judges, so that those who commit disgusting and depraved acts of cruelty to animals in their care can be rightfully locked up.

 

Bill Wiggin reaction to Manchester attack

I was deeply shocked and saddened to wake up to the news of the appalling events in Manchester. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of all those affected by this dreadful attack on young people and families leaving a concert.

It is right that, out of respect for the families of the victims, all major parties have suspended campaigning as we reflect on this tragedy. The Prime Minister is chairing a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee this morning, to coordinate the UK’s response to the latest terror threat.

Once again, this country’s emergency services have demonstrated extraordinary bravery by heading towards danger in order to save lives, and I would like to pay tribute the wonderful job they do to keep us all safe.

The solidarity shown by the people of Manchester is a reminder that we should not be cowed by terrorism, but rather remain defiant in the face of those who seek to destroy our way of life.

Bill Wiggin MP supports Mondelēz International Annual Parliamentary Reception 2017

 

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, yesterday met with fellow MPs at the Mondelez International Annual Parliamentary Reception.

Bill Wiggin met with fellow MPs, the Mondolez President for Northern Europe, Glenn Canton, and suppliers before giving a speech to those in attendance.

Mondelez International employ over 5000 people across 10 locations in the UK, including the Marlbrook site, near Leominster, in Mr Wiggin’s North Herefordshire constituency.

The Marlbrook site has been operational since 1936, and is the companies’ Crumb Making Centre of Excellence. It has 96 full time employees and deals with 93 dairy farms supplying 500,000 litres of milk per day, and processes up to 93,000 tons of chocolate crumb per year.

Commenting after the event, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“I was delighted to attend this event for Mondolez International, who have such a positive impact on the local economy in North Herefordshire.

Mondolez continue to invest £1.5m into local communities and provide young people with an excellent pathway to work through their early career programmes, which include apprenticeships, internships, graduate and school leaver programmes.

As Mr Canton said in his speech, Mondelez have invested over £20m in the Marlbrook site in the last few years, which is so important for jobs and dairy farmers across my constituency.

I look forward to working closely with Mondolez to ensure more success in the coming years.”

 

Bill Wiggin MP Statement

As I left the division lobbies having voted, the Leader of the House announced that an incident had occurred outside. It was hard to discover what was happening so I returned to my office moments before the chamber was locked. On television I was able to follow the events unfolding while I could see the ambulance lights flashing on Westminster Bridge out of my office window.

The murder of two and the injury of about forty pedestrians on Westminster Bridge is an atrocity.  This was compounded by the murder of PC Keith Palmer who was guarding the carriage gates at the Parliament Square entrance to the Palace of Westminster.

It is worth pointing out that thanks to the superb reactions of PC Palmer and the security forces this cowardly attack failed absolutely, with the murderer not even making it 20 metres inside the secure zone. Parliament sits as normal today, in defiance of this murderer’s attempt to attack our democracy.

The attacker who has not yet been identified was shot and later died. Overnight the Police have arrested eight people who may have been connected.

The courage, bravery and dedication of our emergency services should make us all feel proud that we have such people willing to stand in defence of democracy and freedom, and to run towards danger whilst encouraging others to get out of harm’s way.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of all affected. There were more than ten nationalities hurt by the murderer and these people were just innocent tourists enjoying the sights of London. They too deserve to be safe and welcome in our country.

I felt throughout for the safety of my staff as well as the other workers caught up by this attack. We were kept locked in for most of the day and evening as it was hard to identify if there were more threats expected.

This was an attack on our democracy, our values and on our liberty.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the brave men and women of our emergency services who do so much to keep us all safe.

In the coming days, weeks and months, we will show that we are not cowed by attacks such as these, but rather continue to embrace the values of democracy that we all share and hold so dear.

 

Bill Wiggin MP

 

Bill Wiggin MP supports World Cancer Day 2017

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire attended an event in Parliament yesterday to show his support for World Cancer Day on Saturday 4 February, 2017.

Bill Wiggin MP met with representatives from seven of the UK’s leading charities who have joined forces to unite the nation and help people affected by cancer.

Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Now, CLIC Sargent, Anthony Nolan, Bowel Cancer UK and Marie Curie are calling on people across North Herefordshire to show their support by wearing a Unity Band or donating.

By joining forces, the charities will make a bigger impact in transforming the lives of millions who are affected by cancer.

The Unity Bands are made of two parts, knotted together, to symbolise strength in unity and the power of what can be achieved when people join forces.

The bands are available from each charity on their websites, shops and other retail outlets for a suggested donation of £2. All money raised from the Unity Bands will go towards the charities individual work.

One in two people born in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime.

Bill Wiggin MP said: “I’m calling on people in North Herefordshire to join me in support of World Cancer Day which is on Saturday 4 February.

“Whatever your motivation – to remember a loved one, celebrate people who have overcome the disease, or to rally in support of those going through treatment – World Cancer Day is a chance to get involved and transform the lives of millions of people who are affected by cancer.”

 

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