BMF and RYA at Brighton

BMF Executive Director Howard Pridding speaking from the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, said the BMF, together with the RYA, has been present on the Boating Alliance stand all week ensuring that the industry has a high profile.

Howard reports: “This has been the busiest party conference to date with a large number of government ministers visiting the stand. This really shows that our work in building strong working relationships with the people who are responsible for making decisions that directly affect the industry and boaters throughout 2008-2009 has been a success. They know who we are, what we are about and most importantly, that it’s in their interests to speak to us”.

The RYA and BMF took the opportunity to meet with the DEFRA Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies MP, who is steering the Marine & Coastal Access Bill through Parliament.

Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also visited the stand and revealed that he had been pleased with the RYA and BMF’s collaborative work with officials on the Marine Bill and that overall he was very pleased with the Bill.

As he walked away from the stand Mr Benn was heard to describe the RYA and BMF as a ‘formidable alliance’.

Pridding added: “With the RYA we had managed to secure, in advance, a 20 minute meeting during the conference with the Transport Minister Paul Clark MP, which in itself is a major achievement considering how busy Ministers are during the conference and the large of number of people who want to meet them.
“The meeting gave us the opportunity to present recreational boating’s concerns over any potential new alcohol legislation in particular on issues surrounding enforcement and the description of the exclusion exemption. Mr Clark indicated that he would relay our concerns to his officials”.

The party conferences provide a great opportunity to showcase our Olympic success and the need for cross-Party support for sport and sports funding in this country. Joe Glanfield, Olympic sailor provided the stand with a touch of glamour when he joined the team on Monday 28 September.

Gus Lewis, RYA Head of Legal and Government Affairs added: “Joe is a great asset to have on the stand not just because of his medal winning achievements on the water but because of his personal commitment to the sport as a whole; this is the third Labour party conference he has worked on with us.”

Meetings have also been held with the Minister for the South West, Jim Knight MP, exploring opportunities that the 2012 Olympic sailing event in Weymouth will bring for the industry.

As the Labour Party Conference draws to a close it’s no rest for the team. They will doing it all over again, along with Olympic gold medallist Andrew Simpson, at the Conservative Party Conference which starts on Monday 5 October in Manchester – as who knows who will be responsible for making decisions that could directly affect recreational boating and the industry in 2010 and onwards.