For photos from the event click here.
Theresa Villiers and David Burrowes joined over 70 supporters of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus, also known as CFCyprus, at a post-election reception hosted by the organisation.
The event, held at the Elysee Restaurant in central London, was attended by the leader of Barnet Council Cllr Richard Cornelius, leader of the Enfield Council Conservative Group Cllr Terry Neville, former MP, MEP and London Conservative Chairman Dr Ian Twinn, former MP and Chairman of Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign Nick de Bois, the High Commissioner of Cyprus HE Euripides Evriviades, the Ambassador of Greece HE Konstantinos Bikas, the new Consul General for Cyprus Ioannis Koukoularides, and President of POMAK (the World Organisation of Overseas Cypriots) Andreas Papaevripides.
In addressing the packed room of guests Cllr Jason Charalambous, Chairman of CFCyprus, said “I would like to thank all those who worked so hard to help deliver a Conservative victory in May – a resounding victory which you all played a small but important part to achieve. I would also like to thank our dedicated Parliamentary friends for their steadfast commitment to the 300,000 strong Cypriot community in Britain and in improving UK ties with Cyprus”.
In paying tribute to former MP Nick de Bois, who narrowly lost his seat in Enfield North, he added “I am so pleased to welcome Nick here, who despite no longer being in Parliament, shows his genuine commitment and interest in UK-Cyprus relations by joining us this evening”.
Cllr Charalambous continued by referring to the organisation’s ambitious programme of initiatives in the year ahead which include a Parliamentary meeting for Conservative MPs and peers, a reception at the Conservative Party Conference in October and a Parliamentary delegation to Cyprus towards the end of 2015.
David Burrowes, Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate and Chairman of the Parliamentary branch of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus, thanked the guests for the hard work they put into his re-election saying “it is great to see so many friends from the campaign trail here today who worked tirelessly to assist my return to Parliament and the election of so many other Conservative MPs across the UK”.
He continued by adding “with a Conservative government in the UK and in Cyprus there is a real opportunity for strengthening the already close ties between these two countries, and I share the Foreign Secretary’s view as expressed in a response to a question I asked him – that there is now a real hope for a solution to the Cyprus Problem”.
Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet and President of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus, addressed the crowded audience and said “I want to thank all of you for your generous help in the election – you and your community made a huge difference to the outcome in a range of seats in North London and beyond”.
She referred to the Conservative victory in May and added that “the people of Britain showed they wanted a government that tells it how it is, that is going to restore the economy, and realises that we have to live within our means as a country”.
She also thanked Jason Charalambous for his work in rebranding and re-launching the Conservative Friends of Cyprus (which was formally known as the Conservatives for Cyprus) and paid tribute to Matthew Offord, the MP for Hendon, and a member of the Parliamentary CFCyprus group, who defied the pollsters and was returned to Parliament with a substantially increased majority.
Nick de Bois then addressed the audience by saying his “relationship and passion for Cyprus did not begin and end with being an MP but began very early in my life and will continue for many years to come whatever I may do politically”. He went on to discuss his role as Chairman of Zac Goldsmith’s campaign to become the Conservative Party candidate for Mayor of London.
Ian Twinn, the former MP for Edmonton and MEP for London, who founded the organisation in 1992 with a launch event with the then Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, said “I want to thank Jason for taking on the Chairmanship and re-energising this important organisation, and thank all those who support us through thick and thin”. He added “we do our bit because we care about Cyprus – we love Cyprus, but we also care about the injustices Cyprus has faced. You as a community have enveloped us and taken us to your heart, and that means a great deal to all of us here today”.
Dr Twinn went on to discuss his role as Chairman of the London Conservatives and the selection for the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, in which he referred to the nominations of several “stunningly good candidates to choose from”.
Andreas Papaevripides, President of POMAK (the World Organisation of Overseas Cypriots), Chairman of DISY-UK and Vice-President of CFCyprus, provided concluding remarks paying tribute to all the Conservative MPs who support Cyprus. He added “it is so good to see young people taking a lead in moving this organisation forward and I encourage more people in the Cypriot community to actively get involved in British politics and supporting our excellent Parliamentary friends”.
The reception, which was generously supported by the Elysee restaurant with complimentary drinks and canapés, saw many guests continue the evening listening to live music and enjoying Kyri Pattihis and the Elysee team’s welcoming hospitality.
CFCyprus is a member-led organisation open to anyone who supports closer ties between the Conservative Party and the Republic of Cyprus. The organisation will be hosting its annual reception at Conservative Party Conference on Sunday 4th October at 5:45pm in the Wyvern Bar of the Midland Hotel in Manchester. For more information and to join as a supporter visit www.cfcyprus.org.uk.