Saj Reports Back
North West England
April 2009 Edition
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Another busy month has passed and I have a lot to tell you. I hope you enjoy reading through this report.
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Saj in Parliament
The Rise of Extremism in Europe 15th April
I was invited to chair a meeting in the European Parliament which provided attendees with the opportunity to consider the background of the rise of extremism. We also addressed the perceived weaknesses in European democratic accountability and transparency. The meeting had been organised by the European Ideas Network (EIN) which is sponsored by the EPP-ED, an open pan-European think tank process designed to promote new thinking on the key challenges that Member States of the European Union are facing. The purpose of the meeting was to gather key thinkers to create a unique forum in which to develop innovative ideas about the policy challenges facing Europe and to evolve practical solutions to help address them. The key speaker at the meeting was Dr Allan Janik, research fellow at Innsbruck University, professor of philosophy at the University of Vienna and Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology. As the first British Muslim to be elected into the European Parliament, I have a special interest in ensuring that the rise of extremist parties in Europe and in my North West constituency is prevented, albeit democratically. We must not let parties like the BNP spread their message of hate in our communities.
Welcoming North West Journalists to Brussels 15th April
I was pleased to be able to welcome a journalist from my North West constituency, Adam Pasternicki from the BBC, to Brussels in order to shadow me in my role as a Member of the European Parliament. Although it was a very hectic day and I was busy dashing from one place to another, I think the journalist found the trip really interesting and helpful. I hope that bit by bit, European issues will make it more into the press and get the media coverage and attention they so deserve.
Meeting with Billy Bragg to discuss the Copyright term directive 22nd April
I am the legal affairs spokesperson for the Conservatives in the European Parliament and a party whip; this has meant that I have had to make important decisions on how the Party ought to be voting on a variety of issues including the protection of copyright and related rights. Last week, Billy Bragg was visiting the European Parliament in order to voice his concerns and present the concerns of other in relation to the Copyright Term Directive and the affects that such a directive would have on the music industry specifically.
For more information on this particular piece of legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Welcoming Activist, Iqbal Ahmed OBE to the European Parliament, 29th April
Iqbal Ahmed OBE was visiting Brussels in his capacity as CEO of a fisheries business which spans across the entire European Union and also overseas in Bangladesh. Mr Ahmed is a very keen activist from Tatton in my constituency and I was delighted to be able to welcome him the European Parliament and give him an insight of the workings of the institution.
Saj in the North West
Moston By-Election Campaign Day 4th April
The by-election in Moston, Manchester was a real struggle. We had a fantastic candidate in Phil Donohue who had shown real potential and determination. The Labour stronghold was difficult to penetrate but this was certainly not a reflection of the efforts made by the team of activists in the area. I was glad to have spent some time there helping out in Moston with Sue Gillett and other European Parliamentary candidates Jacquie Foster, Greg Morgan and Alex Williams and our only Manchester City Councillor, Faraz Bhatti. I would like to thank the team for their hard work in spreading the Conservative message and for speaking out against the BNP.
Cumbria and Lancashire Campaign Trail 9th April
The campaign trail took my all over Cumbria and Lancashire on the 9th April; starting off in Whalley at the Abbey with Cllr Albert Atkinson and finishing up on a farm in Kendal with our PPC Gareth McKeever! It was very interesting to hear from Cllr Geoff Driver about local issues in Preston concerning the bus station and to discuss the impact of certain pieces of European environmental legislation on the farm in Cumbria and the problems that losing the opt out in the working time directive would have had on the Fire Services in Cumbria, as I heard from Cllr Tm Stoddard.
BBC Radio Manchester at the Lowry Centre Sunday 12th April
I took part in an exciting broadcast on BBC radio Manchester with Andy Crane presenting and with co-guests singer, Dave Jaggs and comedian Michael J Dolan. It was really interactive and fun and we had a real good debate to top it off!
East Lancashire Disraeli Club Dinner and Discussion in Europe16th
The Disraeli club invited me to attend their dinner as a key speaker. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jenny Mayer and her colleagues and also the very interactive and lively discussion that ensued over the dinner. It was a great pleasure to meet everyone at the West Lancashire Conservative Association.
Campaigning in Fylde with Simon Renwick 18th April
The 18th was the Association Action Day across the region. I managed to get across to Kirkham in Lancashire to help out with a stall that had been set up for the Savings and Pensions Action Day. Savers have suffered extraordinarily low rates and pensioners have been forced to endure a decade of Brown’s tax raids. The campaigning in Fylde was to raise awareness of the Conservative Party’s proposals to abolish income tax on savings for basic rate taxpayers and to raise the pensioners’ personal allowance to £11 490. It was a really successful day and we had plenty of interested people who were really impressed with the Party’s proposals.
Pakistan Day with Mr Idrees, Chairman of the North West Conservative Muslim Forum in Bolton 19th April
I am very keen to ensure that the Conservative message is heard throughout all the diverse communities in my constituency. Mohammed Idrees, Ansar Hussain and Mudassir Dean, all Members of the Conservative Muslim Forum North West and their colleagues worked hard to push the Conservative message in Bolton. As the founding Chair of the European Parliament Friends of Pakistan Group, I was very pleased to celebrate Pakistan Day in Bolton to highlight the current situation in Pakistan and the need for the European Union to remain engaged with Pakistan at this turbulent time.
Lancaster University Environment Centre Visit 20th April
Cllr Alan Best:
"Sajjad Karim MEP visited the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University where he I hosted him in my capacity as Managing Director of Ardeer Eco Ltd an environmental technology company specialising in developing greener products, and Jonathon Lutwyche CEO of the REACH Centre Ltd who are experts in the new European chemical regulations aimed at removing dangerous substances from everyday use. The Lancaster Environment Centre undertakes a wide range of projects in partnership with business and industry with great value to be gained by businesses having access and association to one of the largest centres for environmental research in Europe. Two floors of this building provide 20 offices for companies all of whom are engaged in developing more sustainable technologies in collaboration with the University which has over 300 scientists based in the centre. The University also places over 30 postgraduate students each year into a wide range of businesses to work on technology-based projects and to improve resource use efficiency. Mr Karim was very impressed by what he saw and was able to give an insight to global opportunities for the exploitation of the expertise and technologies being developed."
For more information on REACH, please click here.
Dinner at Salford Conservative association 24th April
On Friday I went across to the Salford Federation Dinner organised by Cllr Robin Garrido, as their guest speaker. It was great to meet so many familiar and friendly faces at the event and to build on our already strong relationship. I was delighted that so many people were so interested in the work of the Conservative MEPs and other European Institutions and I am really looking forward to welcoming the group to Brussels in the future.
Campaigning in Pendle 26th April
On Sunday I went off to my home turf, Pendle, to join Andrew Stephenson and our candidates in a full day of campaigning. I am feeling really confident that Pendle is becoming more and more winnable for the Conservatives. We have an extraordinarily strong team in Andrew Stephenson, George Askew, Mohammed Abdullah Zaid, Shakil Ahmed and many more strong and accomplished candidates. I hope that all the work they’re putting in really pulls off.
If you have any questions about the work I have been involved in this month, please don't hesitiate to get in touch. I will look forward to hearing from you.
Sajjad Karim MEP - Putting The North West First