Blog Type, IPT Blog, Fellowship Blog | March 2017

March Fellowship Blog

March was once again a busy month for the Fellowship team, as a number of parliamentarians progressed with their Fellowships. Highlights this month include Amanda Solloway MP and John Pugh MP visiting the Fleet Sewer with Tideway, the Former Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie MP spending time with LV= and Barclays, and Lord Livermore visiting Honda’s manufacturing headquarters in Swindon. Read on to find out more:

On Wednesday 1 March Dr John Pugh, Member of Parliament for Southport, and Amanda Solloway, Member of Parliament for Derby North, travelled underground into the Fleet Sewer, near Blackfriars Bridge, as part of their respective Fellowships examining construction and waste management.

Both MP’s were briefed about the Thames Tideway Sewer Project, which incorporates a new 16 mile tunnel being constructed, stretching from Acton in West London to Abbey Mills in East London.  Shortly after, both Members of Parliament changed into protective clothing and went underground for a tour of the original Fleet Sewer. Later that day, both John and Amanda participated in an educational boat ride to Westminster, where they saw first-hand the current construction projects being undertaken along the banks of the river.

John Pugh MP and Amanda Solloway MP said:

“Today we learnt a great deal about waste management systems in the UK. The Thames Tideway Tunnel is an essential construction project to ensure London’s sewer system is operating effectively and in an environmentally-friendly way.

Find out more about John and Amanda’s visit here. 

Following on from a visit to Barclays on Thursday 2 March, Chris Leslie, Labour MP for Nottingham East, visited insurance mutual LV= on Friday 10 March at their headquarters in Bournemouth.

During the visit, Chris was able to gain an insight into the dynamics of how a modern financial services mutual operates in the UK, as well as an overview into how they process general insurance claims and provide financial advice to customers approaching retirement.

The visit also enabled Chris to learn more about the key regulatory issues for LV= and the two main business areas of the company (general insurance and life and pensions). LV= is the UK’s largest friendly society and offer services direct to consumers as well as through advisers and brokers and partnership organisations.

Commenting on the visit Chris Leslie said:

“I would like to thank LV= for organising such an insightful day and I look forward to my future visits examining the Financial Services industry. I am grateful for the opportunity the Fellowship is providing me and understand the importance of having such a programme in place.”

Find out more about Chris’s visit here.

On Friday 17 March, Lord Livermore visited Honda’s UK Manufacturing Ltd site in Swindon. As part of his Fellowship, Lord Livermore is hoping to gain insight into manufacturers, both foreign based in the UK and UK based exporters, particularly in the light of Brexit.

Lord Livermore met Patrick Keating, European Public Affairs Manager, and Mark White, Quality Division Manager, who talked about the history of Honda and the day-to-day operations at the factory. He was also given a tour of the fully integrated car manufacturing facility – from casting and engine assembly through to welding and final assembly. It was also an opportunity to discuss the opportunities and challenges Honda faces in Europe given the current economic and political climate.

Lord Livermore said:

“I found the visit extremely useful. It really helped my understanding of the challenges and opportunities Honda face and I was very grateful for everyone giving up their time.”

Find out more about Lord Livermore’s visit here.

After a briefing in Parliament with the Airports Operators Association earlier in the month, on Monday 27 March Chris Matheson, MP for City of Chester, visited Heathrow Airport.

Chris was given a tour of the NATS Control Tower where he saw at first-hand how NATS controllers safely guide 1,350 aircraft movements each day across the world’s two busiest runways at Heathrow. He was then given an overview of Heathrow’s operations and heard about the types of improvements that are currently being made to enhance passenger experience in their departure lounges. He also learnt about how Heathrow is creating jobs across the UK through boosting the number of SMEs in its supply chains, as well as Heathrow 2.0 – the airport’s new sustainability strategy.  

Chris Matheson MP said:

“It was fascinating to see first-hand the way in which one of the world’s busiest airports operates and the passion they have for improving sustainability as well as customer experience.”

Find out more about Chris’s visit here

Other visits in March include:

On Thursday 9 March, premium retailer House of Fraser hosted Baroness Prashar CBE as part of her Fellowship exploring sustainability and the retail sector. During her visit Baroness Prashar met with Executive Chairman Frank Slevin who gave her an overview of House of Fraser and provided insight into the future of retail. This was particularly useful given the current landscape of the retail industry and it's ever growing online presence.

On Tuesday 21 March, Derek Thomas MP visited techUK where he gained an insight into new start-ups and the evolution of technologies. The visit also allowed Derek to speak with senior representatives at techUK and gain a greater understanding of skills, online safety and telecommunications.

On Monday 27 March Lord Young of Norwood Green visited the 3M site in Atherstone, Warwickshire, focusing on apprenticeships and manufacturing.  During the visit, the former Opposition Spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills, was given an overview of 3M globally, its operations at Atherstone and within the UK more generally. Lord Young was also taken on a tour of the manufacturing plant where he was able to meet and talk to a number of staff and apprentices. 

Industry Visit

Finally the IPT, in association with Airbus, are delighted to invite parliamentarians to join us for a visit to the Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse, France, on Thursday 20 July - Friday 21 July 2017.

The visit, which is being run in association with Airbus, is a fantastic opportunity for parliamentarians to gain a unique insight into one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers. The visit will explore topics such as manufacturing, skills, technology and innovation. It will also include a tour of the final assembly lines for a range of Airbus’ commercial aircraft and satellites.

For more details of the visit, please click here

Written by Alex Reeves, Parliamentary Officer. 

If you would be interested in hosting any of our parliamentarians as part of their Fellowship, please get in touch with Liz Dawson, Parliamentary Affairs Manager at or call 020 7839 9405.