Westminster Foundation for Democracy 30th Anniversary

The Westminster Foundation for Democracy celebrated its 30th anniversary and the celebration took place on 19 October 2022 at the Speakers State Apartments. 

Anthony Smith CEO of WFD introduced the Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP.  The Chair of WFD Richard Graham MP spoke about WFD’s current work and Minister of State Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon gave the Foreign Office perspective. I gave the closing speech.  

By video there were contributions from Foreign Secretary Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taiwan, Chih-cheng Lo, former Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Uganda Winnie Kiiza and WFD Country Representative for Ukraine Halyna Shevchuk. 

WFD has developed its 10 Year strategy, 2022-2025, as a response to the crisis facing democracy across the globe. The strategy has three key aims: Firstly, it will focus on country and regional programmes which develop trusted relationships and implement reforms on the ground. Secondly, WFD is starting a new centre of expertise on elections and democratic governments. Thirdly, WFD will build stronger and better partnerships internationally, that will help push the WFD agenda forward.

Here is my speech:

Thank you, Mr Speaker Hoyle, for being the Parton of Westminster Foundation for Democracy and being the figure head of democracy in the UK, you do this with the help of your office: Education, Hospitality front office staff help us to hold the government to account. Thank you for allowing WFD to celebrate 30 years here:

Lord Ahmad thank you for your words and I am pleased the settlement was agreed. I know Richard tried to secure an adjournment debate. I also wish that there are no cuts to the BBC World Service whcih has provided a lifeline for poeple around the world who are incarcerated. They need to find out information and they get it from the World Service.

I got involved because I want to protect Human Rights. And in Lord Bigham’s book the Rule of Law, he said that everyone of the convention rights were broken during the 2nd World War. That is why people came together to agree the Convention and all the Human Rights Act is an enactment into Law of the Convention on Human Rights.  

Anthony our CEO has spoken about WFD and 10-year strategy and tells us at every meeting that democracy is in global decline for last 15 years. And our  governors: Maria Miller, Brendan O’Hara, Christine Jardine, Yasmin Qureshi, non-execs Sue Inghlish, Mark Babington, and Thomas Parke work hard for WFD. I have seen the FCDO and WFD they each have different skills and they work together with different skills. This will help WfD future work which is to work together with parliaments; civil society to ensure thriving democracy –with inclusive governments: that’s what we are striving to do

Thank you to each and everyone who turned up today: it means you care about democracy: Because you know that social progress environmental protection and human dignity are linked and must be protected: Parliamentarians give us your skills; Non Parliamentarians give us your skills too; it makes a huge difference. Speak to the WFD members as to how to get involved; you dont get a goodie bag but a strategy poster I hope it will inspire you to get involved.

Finally: when go home  think about those who are fighting for democracy and losing their lives like the women in Iran and people of Ukraine; 

So that when we wake up tomorrow, we can use Parliament or our organisations-to give a voice to the voiceless, to work for democracy to give people hope so we can all live in peace.