Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham column | Will you be hosting a street party for the King's Coronation?

The last week has seen a historic milestone marked in Northern Ireland – 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement – a milestone also marked by the attendance of President Biden of the USA in Belfast this week.
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It would be easy to forget just how significant a moment this was. For millions across our country, the troubles is a period that is learnt about through history books, not something of which there is direct experience of memory. But for millions more, particularly those in Northern Ireland, the pain caused during that period is ingrained in the consciousness.

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The agreement that was reached on April 10, 1998, brought that 30-year conflict to an end. Power-sharing was established, protestant and catholic communities were brought together, and it was firmly established amongst both sides that Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK until a majority wanted otherwise.

Burnley MP Antony HigginbothamBurnley MP Antony Higginbotham
Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham
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Since its signing there have been many significant events in the UK-Irish relationship, including the Queen visiting the Republic of Ireland in 2011.

And whilst there remains some tensions, and some clashes with the police, the peace that was established in 1998 has held.

We are also now just a few weeks away from another major moment for the UK, and the Commonwealth – the King’s Coronation. More and more details are being made public, including the procession route, the carriages to be used, and the big moments to watch out for.

Across Burnley and Padiham plans are under way for celebrations too, with various street parties due to take place on the Sunday as part of the ‘Coronation Big Lunches’. To find your nearest one you can go to coronation.gov.uk. And if you want to organise a street party / big lunch for your area there’s a whole load of tips and advice.

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Finally, this week I also began a partnership with a Ukrainian MP as part of a global programme to help Ukraine develop its democracy.

It was little over 30 years ago that Ukraine secured independence from the then Soviet Union and so it remains a young democracy, still learning and developing. This programme, facilitated by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and US Aid, is to help MPs in Ukraine understand how we engage with constituents, scrutinise Government and ensure our democracy remains vibrant. I am hoping to welcome the Ukrainian MP I’ve been paired with to Burnley in the coming months and I know he’ll get a warm welcome.