Following our tour and bonding exercise we meet Sir Henry Bellingham, Member of Parliament for North West Norfolk, currently Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. His ministerial oversight includes United Nations, Africa, Overseas Territories.
I am suited and tied and after a brief introduction by our Group Leader (John Malley of CAFOD) Sir Henry opens up the discussions by (very bravely I thought) inviting questions. He looks to me, as I am on his right, and I open the batting by asking about Uganda, large scale v. small scale aid, and the need to support U.K. manufacturers with U.K. taxpayers money. He responds very well and is fully master of his brief, stressing the process of good governance leading to full democracy and the
reduction of corruption. The newspapers that day had lead with a report of dissention in the Cabinet over overseas aid targets – so our discussions were very much on the button. He gave us a full hour’s worth of attention. We enjoyed it. He looked as if he also enjoyed the time spent with us and our CAFOD shepherd was happy with the connections made.