At the first Board meeting of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus since the General Election, two new Parliamentary Chairmen were announced – Dr Matthew Offord MP for the House of Common’s group, and Baroness Liz Redfern CBE for the House of Lords group.
The meeting on Monday 10 July was held at the Houses of Parliament, where CFCyprus was pleased to welcome new Members of Parliament to the group, who join the existing parliamentary team of dedicated Members of the House of Commons and Lords, who have championed the campaign for strong bilateral relations between Cyprus and the United Kingdom, advocated for the rights for the Cypriot Community in the UK and fought for a just and sustainable solution to the Cyprus issue through written and oral questions and activities aimed at gaining the support of the Government.
The volunteer-run organisation’s Chairman, Councillor Jason Charalambous, briefed the Parliamentarians on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem following the recent Crans Montana talks.
He emphasised on the need to continue the efforts for reunification and highlighted the positive role of President Anastasiades during the negotiations. The British MPs reaffirmed their commitment in helping reach a just solution for the island.
Mr Charalambous also thanked the former MP for Enfield-Southgate, David Burrowes for his devoted service for the community during his 12 years as a Member of Parliament, expressing the group’s desire to see him return to Westminster. Mr Burrowes served as CFCyprus’ Parliamentary Chairman since 2015, and he was thanked for his dedication and commitment to this role.
A series of dynamic events were agreed to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Conservative Friends of Cyprus which is being marked this year. Amongst the matters discussed was also the development of the structure of CFCyprus to reflect its grassroots nature, thus enabling it to better support its community and parliamentary functions.
The meeting saw Matthew Offord MP for Hendon declared the new Chairman of the Parliamentary Group by acclamation. Dr Offord has been a strong advocate for Cyprus and the Cypriot Community in the United Kingdom, and had led the CFCyprus parliamentary delegation to the island in November 2016.
The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who has backed the rights of the educational, religious, and broader rights of the Cypriot community for the past 18 years, remains President of the group. Baroness Liz Redfern CBE was selected to lead the House of Lords parliamentary group.
Also present was the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cyprus and Deputy Chairman of CFCyprus, Sir Roger Gale MP; the former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party and founder of CFCyprus, Dr Ian Twinn; Sheryll Murray MP and Martin Vickers MP.