Sorry chaps, lunch is off. Didn’t realise the son-in-law had gone and opened his mouth in Parliament


For those enthusiastic about Imperial College’s plans to turn Wye into the non-food crops equivalent of Silicon Valley, it was to be the social event of the year. The names on the guest list read like the signatories to the mother of all concordats: Sir Richard Sykes, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Paul Carter, Alex King, Paul Clokie, Damian Green, Ian Cooling and Charles Findlay. The token woman and voice of the environment was to be Dr Hilary Newport, the director of the Kent branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.

But there was a problem with the lunch organised by Kent’s Lord Lieutenant for those involved in the Wye Park scheme to get to ‘know each other socially’ and, wouldn’t you just know it, it was a family problem. Alan Willett, who was hosting the get-together at his house — Cumberland Cottage, in Chilham — on May 23 has a son-in-law who is very interested in science parks, is the Labour MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey and had only gone and spouted off about it in the House of Commons.

Big wide vision

In-laws, eh? Aren’t they just a pain in the bum? Derek Wyatt outside Parliament

The relationship between Mr Willett and Derek Wyatt MP was revealed on save-wye earlier this week as was Mr Wyatt’s enthusiasm for Imperial’s plans which he commended to the House on March 29. Mr Wyatt wants the Kent Science Park at Sittingbourne downgraded in favour of the obliteration of the village of Wye.

Unfortunately, it appears that he never mentioned this to the father-in-law and so, with great regret, Mr Willett has had to cancel his lunch. He has written to all those who were due to attend saying: ‘It has come to my notice that the proposed development at Wye has been debated in the House of Commons [no mention who was involved in the debate, though].

‘In view of this, it is no longer appropriate for me, as the Lord Lieutenant of Kent and therefore HM the Queen’s representative in the county, to host the proposed luncheon for those concerned with this matter.

‘I trust all the invitees will understand that to go ahead with the luncheon would now prejudice mine and, therefore, the Queen’s total neutrality on all political issues.’


About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome, Pieter Vos in Amsterdam, adaptions of the Sarah Lund stories in Copenhagen, and versions of Shakespeare worked for Audible.
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4 Responses to Sorry chaps, lunch is off. Didn’t realise the son-in-law had gone and opened his mouth in Parliament

  1. David Hewson says:

    Could someone kindly explain to me what planet these people are living on? Was ‘the Queen’s representative in the county’ so out of it that he didn’t realise the Wye Park Project was an issue of, er, a little controversy? Even without his son-in-law trying to hang on to his seat by publicly trying to send the boffins our way instead of his?

    This lunch invitation included six people — a majority — who are among Wye Park’s most vociferous supporters, some of whom are the very men who got it off the ground in the first place. And now the lootenant is worried about his neutrality?

    It beggars belief. I’m much more inclined to think they have other reasons instead, perhaps because the lunch leaked out in the first place, demonstrating once again how poor their news management skills are.

    None of this is pique because I wasn’t on the list of course…

  2. J Arthur says:

    David as you infer these guys are ‘flying with the fairies’!

    Their pompous arrogance leads to a surreal conviction of omniscience which obliterates normal rational thinking resulting in them making complete arses of themselves as has happened here.

    However, the cancellation of this ill-conceived luncheon leaves a gap in Mr Willett’s and Mr Finlay’s diaries.

    Perhaps Mr Willett might invite Wye PC and WFG to lunch instead and hear their views?

    Or perhaps Mr Findlay might hold a public meeting in the Village Hall to tell us what he is doing to protect the interests of the villagers?

    Or perhaps I too am loosing touch with reality and beginning to float up to those airborne fairies?

  3. Mike says:

    Strange how we have not heard anything from Mr Findlay on the issue. Maybe someone should give him a call to see what he is up to and make sure he has not forgotten about us.

  4. Jack Woodford says:

    If the Lord-Lieutenant and Mr Wyatt were on the electoral register for Wye they would be more than welcome to attend the AGM on Thursday 4th May…they could even bring their chum Prescott (minus his PA)..however our elected representatives will be in attendence to give statements, and hopefully take some informal questions….so even if the lunch is off the Village AGM is still on! All residents on Wye Electoral Register are welcome to attend!

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