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Leader/Times Column 4 November 2016

Despite local issues still taking up the vast majority of my time, when I’ve been out and about across Pendle over recent weeks the question I get asked the most often is “How’s Boris?”

It is fair to say that our new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, seems to capture the public’s imagination far more than any other politician.  So I should have guessed that my appointment, as his Parliamentary Private Secretary, would be of interest to many.

What I often say to people who ask, is how well I think he is settling in at the Foreign Office and what a fascinating place it is to work.  As Boris has said himself his office at the Foreign Office is so vast you could comfortably fit two squash courts in it and so dripping with gilt bling that it looks like something from the Kardashians.  

Our Foreign Secretary sits at the desk of George Nathaniel Curzon, at what was once the nerve centre of an empire seven times the size of the Roman Empire at its height.  There is also the Map Room, in which you cannot help remembering that this country over the last 200 years has directed the invasion or conquest of 178 countries – most of the current members of the UN.  

Those days are gone forever and that is a good thing, but the role of the Foreign Office has never been more important as we seek to shape a new global role, post-Brexit. I believe Boris has made a really good start on his ‘Global Britain’ vision and I am proud to be working with him and with some of the finest diplomats in the world.  Pendle will always come first, but now the people have spoken I feel all MPs have a duty to ensure our country makes a success of Brexit and I am pleased to be so closely involved in the Foreign Office.  

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