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Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats

Reporting back - Isle of Wight Lib Dem dinner for members and business representatives

February 6, 2011 8:40 PM

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was due to attend a dinner arranged by Island Liberal Democrats to speak with representatives from a wide range of commercial organisations, with an Island interest, together with Island Liberal Democrat Members, writes Tim Wakeley.

At the eleventh hour Chris contacted Jill Wareham to let her know that he had been called into the Prime Minister's office to meet with a Russian delegation and representatives of BP. The meeting in Downing Street received top billing on the evening's news as an important agreement was signed enabling BP to work with Russia in the exploration of Arctic Shelf oil fields considered to be as large as those in the Middle East.

None of this detail was known, at the time, to the 80 dinner guests who were very disappointed to learn from Jill Wareham that the Secretary of State was unable to be present. As it happened Chris Huhne had, on learning that he would be unable to attend, contacted Lord Mathew Oakshott, Advisor to Vince Cable on business finance matters, and asked him to take his place. Lord Oakshott was already booked to attend the dinner with his wife Pippa and so gladly took on the task providing those who attended with some interesting insights into the workings of the Coalition government which he described as "a flat share, not a marriage".

Lord Oakshott went on to describe the process being engaged in the House of Lords where they are about to consider future electoral boundaries which would determine whether or not the Island would have one or more MP's. Lord Oakshott expressed his support for the "one Island one MP" movement and was hopeful that this would gather support in the Lords. He also went on to demonstrate his understanding of the plight of business, recognising the failure of banks to invest at this crucial time and the importance of political pressure on those banks partly owned by the State to invest in our future now.

Despite the disappointment of Chris Huhne having been called away the evening passed off very successfully thanks in part to the superb venue, Newclose Cricket Pavilion, the excellent food, good company and a first class speaker. Lord Oakshott also took away some written questions from local businesses which Chris Huhne has promised to respond to.

Another event bringing Chris Huhne together with local business and Lib Dem Members will be organised later in the year.