Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - I’m happy to break the Miliband rule for cause (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - I’m happy to break the Miliband rule for cause
12:00pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
A key rule for those in public life is never to be photographed with a strangely shaped vegetable or fruit.
This guidance has been known as the ‘Miliband rule’, ever since the world caught sight of that infamous photo of David Miliband brandishing a banana at the Labour Party conference in 2008.
This image is widely thought to have scuppered his leadership chances, although a younger brother, prepared to stab him in the back, can’t have helped.
However, I am always prepared to break rules to support events in my constituency, which is why I found myself on the stage at the Devizes Corn Exchange on Saturday, clutching hold of a four-foot long blow up banana, to celebrate the opening of the fifth annual Devizes Fair Trade and Local Food Fair.
This year, the products on offer were better than ever and, having had conversations about the importance of trade replacing aid during my Gambian visit, it was great to meet people who are committed to this aim.
ast Friday, I chaired a fascinating meeting in Devizes to discuss the issue of crop circles. Putting aside the debate about their creation, they clearly bring tourists into our constituency but also cost farmers between £500 to £1,000 directly in terms of lost yield per circle, not to mention possible other losses from hordes of visitors trespassing on private land. We had a very productive discussion about the possibility of creating a ‘ticketing system’ to generate some revenue to compensate for these losses and also the option of creating a visitor centre to direct visitor traffic and reinforce the existing code of conduct. With the circle season soon upon us we need to sort out a possible solution quickly.
I also hosted a meeting in Westminster this week between local rail passenger groups and the transport consultants hired by the Department of Transport to carry out the assessment of the case for electrification of our local rail lines.
They are looking at a number of scenarios and we made the case again for the economic importance of the fast direct train link to London and points West. With relatively slow local roads, these east-west rail arteries are vital for local businesses and bring prosperity into the area.
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