Chris Green MP makes Maiden Speech in House of Commons

On Thursday 2nd July, Chris Green MP made his maiden speech in the House of Commons and pledged to use his role as a newly elected Member of Parliament to “to champion Science and Technology, for the advanced jobs and manufacturing of the future.”

Chris said: “One of the best aspects of being a candidate and now a Member of Parliament is the opportunity to see and get involved with so many wonderful community groups, clubs and events… and I am deeply honoured to represent the People of Bolton West in this place.”

 

Full text of Chris’ speech:

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for calling me to make my maiden speech during this important debate on Britain and International Security. I congratulate the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Stuart Donaldson) on his excellent speech.

Britain has the finest armed forces in the world but, as always, there is a huge challenge in anticipating the nature of the changing threat and preparing for it. As we prepare for an increased cyber threat and the increasingly asymmetric nature of conflict, we must also understand that a strong deterrent is vital as showing a weakness will only serve to encourage our enemies.

We must never forget that the first duty of any Government is national security, and it is important that the Government continues to invest in our defence industry. 

A world leading defence company, MBDA has a manufacturing facility in the centre of my constituency, Bolton West, which produces missiles for our defence.  This is high skill, high value work on cutting edge technology.  MBDA are investing in the building of a new state of the art facility which shows their commitment to Bolton for decades to come. As a contribution to defence, MBDA’s missiles were used to protect key sites during the London Olympics. Another contribution to the Olympics, from Bolton West is Britain’s largest piece of public art the ArcelorMittal Orbit designed by Sir Anish Kapoor.  The steel structures were made at the Severfield plant in Lostock-- because only the highest level of precision engineering would do.

Having listened to the recent debate on the legacy of the Olympic venues, may I suggest that we again look to Bolton West?  This time to see how the Bolton Arena, from the 2002 Commonwealth Games, is continuing to be an excellent centre for sport all these years later.

The Bolton Arena has also been the venue for Bolton West resident, Amir Khan’s, home fights as well as for the General Election counts - I still haven’t yet come to a conclusion as to which is the more exciting…

Our economy needs to continue to rebalance with an increased emphasis on high skilled, high value industry and manufacturing which we do have in Bolton West but we must recognise that we need a mixed economy and that the service sector also has a huge contribution to make.

When I visited Axa Insurance to see their facility, we didn’t just discuss the jobs and opportunities they offer but we also discussed the vision of driverless cars and the insurance implications - we need to recognise that innovations in one industry require complimentary innovations in others.

Only a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to open the newly refurbished A.G. Barr Regional Office in my constituency.  This shows the confidence that businesses have locally and what a great place Bolton West is to invest in.  The unemployment rate has nearly halved since May 2010 and youth unemployment has more than halved.

Whilst I was visiting A.G. Barr, I was delighted to visit their quality control laboratory where I had a reminder of the industry I so recently left. One of the aims I have as new Member of Parliament is to promote STEM subjects, which increasingly offer fantastic career opportunities. As an engineer, I had the opportunity to work from California to Cuba and Israel to Taiwan and I have met some amazing people on my travels.

As a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee, I will use my background and experience to champion Science and Technology, for the advanced jobs and manufacturing of the future and for our graduates and apprentices.

Politicians always talk about STEM subjects, science at University and apprenticeships, but it is important to ensure that we have the high-skilled research, industry and manufacturing jobs available for them to apply their skills.

We need to be better at taking advantage of Britain’s genius and turning it into the high-tech products of the future.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I come from Liverpool, my dad worked in catering after his 22yrs army service - my mum worked as a school dinner lady; and I was an engineer in the mass spectrometry industry for nearly twenty years.  When considering what political Party I would join there could only be one choice – to join the workers party, which is why I am a Conservative.

Bolton West, as a constituency, takes in the western edge of Bolton and the towns and villages on the western side of the Borough.  Atherton was a new addition to the constituency in 2010, and this means that it is the first time any part of the Wigan Borough has been represented in the House of Commons by anyone other than Labour and I am the first Conservative to represent Bolton West since in 1997.

I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Julie Hilling, for her great passion of social justice although with belief in the central importance of government in its delivery.

In Dec 1910, there was a disaster at the Pretoria Pit which was located half way between Atherton and Westhoughton; 343 men and boys were killed.  Last December, I attended events to mark the tragedy and heard Julie Hilling speak with such passion, not just about the tragedy itself but also about the treatment and conditions suffered afterwards.

A lesson for me was that often we will agree on how to deal with social injustice but, when we do disagree, to have respect for how others desire to deal with it.

As an engineer, I find that people’s perception of modern industry has not always kept pace with what is now so often the reality in Britain.  The expectation, when people hear of manufacturing is of huge factories and mills like the now closed Horwich Locomotive Works. There is the expectation of smoke stacks and grime.  Whilst this is sometimes still the case, more often modern industry in Britain takes place in business parks where, from the outside, you could not guess whether the building is an office block or a new high tech venture.  This is what we, as a country, need to focus on.  We should not be trying to compete with the mass production of China but we should continue to lead with our innovative industries.

One of the best aspects of being a candidate and now a Member of Parliament is the opportunity to see and get involved with so many wonderful community groups, clubs and events.  This was perfectly illustrated by the Horwich Communities Working Together event which brought together over 50 different voluntary groups, from all over Horwich to share their ideas and offer one another support.

I’m looking forward to next Saturday’s Blackrod Scarecrow Festival and being a judge for the Westhoughton Yarn Bombing -I’d best learn the difference between a Plain and a Fancy French Weave pretty quickly…

I am delighted to say that there are so many other wonderful events and community groups across the constituency from Atherton through Daisy Hill and over to Heaton, Lostock and Smithills which I am looking forward to supporting.

Bolton West is well served culturally - we will all know of Bolton Wanderers football club whose recently renamed Macron Stadium is at the heart of the constituency.  I live in Wingates which has a famous and award winning brass band and I’m looking forward to Bolton Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Sibelius’ 5th Symphony at the Victoria Hall in a few weeks.

I believe that a shared culture is fundamental to a strong community and healthy society underpinned by education, industry and innovation, and I am deeply honoured to represent the People of Bolton West in this place.

Thank you.

 

Hansard of the Speech and full debate on Britain and International Security is available here.