When Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, suggested to Lindsay Hoyle, her British counterpart, to organize the G7 Speakers’ Conference in “her district”, she might not have realized with it. what enthusiasm the Lancastrians would adopt the idea.
Hoyle said Pelosi asked, ‘We’re still going to London, can we get out of London?
And what do the townspeople think of the influx of international visitors, along with the inevitable heavy police presence and road closures? “They say” Flashing Linds, I didn’t think you’d have them here! “Said Hoyle, who has served as an MP for the constituency since 1997, although he first represented the town at the age of 22 in 1980 as a councilor. A department store, Maidens, has adapted its window to recreate the Parisian boutique of Paul Smith, in order to welcome international guests.
Speakers from each of the G7 countries will discuss how to keep parliaments open while ensuring member safety and ensuring that the “democratic process remains intact” following the violent attack on Capitol Hill in the United States, a shootout against the Canadian parliament in 2014, and the murder of a British policeman at the Palace of Westminster in 2017.
Hoyle hopes the conference “will also put Chorley on the world stage”, ensuring the town will become “part of the overseas tourist circuit”. After being greeted by a town crier, delegates will discuss thorny issues such as the role of social media in open parliaments at Astley Hall, a historic Grade I listed house, surrounded by a lake and historic forest, where trees will be planted to represent each participating country.
Astley Hall is halfway through a renovation, and until a few weeks ago there was scaffolding outside, with its Jacobean plaster ceilings and Elizabethan courtyard closed to all visitors. The speakers’ conference paid “more attention to staying on schedule,” said Peter Wilson, deputy head of the Chorley council. “We are very proud of our historic asset of Astley Hall – the true jewel in the crown, which is a hackneyed expression but is actually very apt.”
What will Hoyle serve his counterparts in the legislatures of Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Italy and the United States? He was delighted to give a nod to a local story (although some historians doubt its veracity) that during a visit to the region in 1617, King James I was so in love with a roast beef that he drew his sword and knighted him “Sir Loin”.
“I said” let’s give them a taste of Lancashire beef – the sirloin that was knighted at Chorley – the face we have Morecambe bay shrimp, Lancashire cheese, Chorley cakes… we have to real things that people remember. I think it’s important for them and for me to show that there are excellent agricultural products in Lancashire, ”he said.
Hoyle is also keen to show Pelosi the connections Chorley has with America, most notably as the birthplace of Myles Standish, a passenger on the Pilgrim Mayflower ship, one of the first settlers of the New America. An American flag rises above the standish bench at St Lawrence Church, where delegates will attend a Sunday service.
“The flag itself in Saint-Laurent is rather threadbare,” Hoyle explained, as it is the same flag offered to the church when American soldiers stationed at the town’s military base left to fight on the beaches. of Normandy. “I understand that President Pelosi is going to present a new flag to the church. So, you know, those kinds of connections are reestablished as well ”.
And will his menagerie of wild animals named after politicians be introduced? No, said Hoyle. Boris the Parrot, Maggie the Turtle and Dennis the American Cat will be in the care of the Speaker’s father, former Labor MP Doug Hoyle. “He’s the zookeeper,” Hoyle said. “I have to keep them on their best behavior.”