Recognising the ‘special relationship’

Alan Mak MP looks out from HMS Monmouth
Alan Mak MP looks out from HMS Monmouth

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I hope News readers enjoyed the Easter break. It’s been a busy and memorable time for me.

March marked the 70th Anniversary of Winston Churchill coining the phrase ‘special relationship’ to describe Britain’s relationship with America.

I was honoured to be selected by the British Embassy in Washington to represent a new generation of British policymakers in the American capital.

I gave a talk to American secondary school students on the importance of UK-US relations, met British business leaders, and joined Britain’s new ambassador Sir Kim Darroch at the British Embassy.

Forged through Second World War and numerous conflicts since, the ‘special relationship’ today is as much about trade and culture as it is defence.

The Easter period also allowed me to continue my year’s ‘work experience’ with the Royal Navy. I spent a couple of days working alongside Royal Navy crew on board HMS Monmouth – a Type 23 frigate that’s the most decorated warship in Her Majesty’s fleet.

I helped with surveillance duties from the bridge and a live fire exercise with the ship’s fearsome machine guns. I also spent time with the ship’s chefs preparing the crew’s evening meal.

The special occasions continued at home too. I was delighted to open Emsworth Museum’s summer season last Saturday. The historic museum is a great community asset, and new curator Philip Magrath has done a great job showcasing local history.

I also enjoyed meeting residents at Leigh Park’s community fundraiser over the Easter weekend, including the mums behind a fundraising effort to build a new adventure playground.

Next week sees the introduction of the government’s new national living wage: all workers aged 25 or over will legally be entitled to at least £7.20 an hour. Great news for workers across Havant.

It’s News readers’ final chance to send me your nominations for the Small Business Awards 2016. Visit my website by this Friday at alanmak.org.uk.

Readers are also encouraged to sign up for my monthly newsletter, where I’ll be keeping residents up-to-date on all my work. Sign up now through my website.

My next drop-in surgery is on Friday, April 8 from 4pm-5.30pm at Hayling Island Community Centre Association. No appointments necessary.

Thanks to all News readers for your continuing support.