The Conservative Friends of Cyprus celebrated the launch of its Parliamentary Group on Monday 7 September with MPs from across the UK at a well-attended reception in the House of Commons.
David Burrowes MP who will lead the new group was welcomed by CFCyprus Chairman Jason Charalambous who said “I am delighted that our organisation continues to grow and develop new ways of building on the strong foundations that have contributed to so much Conservative support for Cyprus”. He continued by referring to his vision of “encouraging ever-stronger ties between the Conservative Party and the 300,000 strong Cypriot community here in the UK”.
The reception was attended by long standing parliamentary supporters of Cyprus including Secretary of State for Northern Ireland the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers (MP for Chipping Barnet), Mike Freer (MP for Finchley and Golders Green) and Matthew Offord (Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cyprus and MP for Hendon).
Other MPs who attended the event, expressing their desire to join the newly established group, included Byron Davies (MP for Gower), Julian Knight (MP for Solihull), Sheryll Murray (MP for South East Cornwall), Col Bob Stewart (MP for Beckenham), Martin Vickers (MP for Cleethorpes) and Craig Williams (MP for Cardiff North). A considerable number of other parliamentarians, who were unable to attend the reception, also declared their support for this Conservative Party led initiative.
In addressing the guests in the Attlee Suite of Portcullis House, David Burrowes said “I am very pleased to be leading CFCyprus’s efforts in Parliament and in welcoming so many colleagues from across Britain who wish to assist in raising awareness of issues important to the British Cypriot community and to countless others who value the special relationship between the UK and Cyprus”.
Theresa Villiers, who also holds the position of President of CFCyprus, added “the strong relationship between Britain and Cyprus will be boosted further by the work of this group, which I am confident will contribute to the long tradition of Conservative Party support for Cyprus, particularly in working towards a lasting, fair and viable solution to the unacceptable division of the island”.
Dr Ian Twinn, Chairman of the London Conservatives who founded CFCyprus in 1992 was also present, as was the High Commissioner of Cyprus HE Euripides Evriviades and Ambassador of Greece HE Konstantinos Bikas. Leading British Cypriots who attended included former CFCyprus Chairman Tony Yerolemou, President of POMAK (the World Organisation of Overseas Cypriots) Andreas Papaevripides, and Birmingham based community leader Demetrios Markou MBE.
One of the first initiatives of the newly formed group will be a visit to Cyprus, with David Burrowes expressing his optimism that the delegation will assist MPs in “developing an understanding of some of the key issues relating to this important bilateral relationship”.
The upcoming CFCyprus reception at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester was also announced, which will be held on Sunday 4th October at 5:45pm in the Wyvern Bar of the Midland Hotel.