I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Parliament Day and at our Summer Reception on Thursday where I know your expertise and face time with policy makers will enhance the associations ability to influence in the corridors of power.

Following our trip to San Diego for BIO, last week featured more travel for me as I started the week attending the excellent AstraZeneca Exchange event in Cambridge, before travelling to Brussels for EuropaBio’s National Association Councils and Board meetings. As Brexit negotiations get underway, it is more important than ever for us to continue constructive dialogue with our European partners and I was glad to be able to put across our latest thinking to the other EU member states present. I was also glad to be able to meet with John Brennan, the new Secretary General of Europabio, and I’m delighted that he’s accepted my invitation to join us at our Summer Reception this week – do please introduce yourselves and make John welcome. If you’ve not booked It’s the last opportunity to book so do get registered for what looks set to be a great evening.

Brexit inevitably dominates policy discussion, but the early focus the sector has given to what type of Brexit is required to ensure minimal disruption and maximum opportunity is certainly paying off. It was a key agenda item at last week’s Ministerial Industry Strategy Group, which was well attended at both Secretary of State and Ministerial level across the Department of Health and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This week I am also attending the John Bell’s Life Sciences Industry Strategy Board meeting, which also present a great opportunity to influence a robust Industrial Strategy for our sector, now more important than ever in the context of Brexit.

Parliament Day has a packed schedule of meetings with Ministers, Parliamentarians and key officials for us to voice our views on Brexit and other key issues. The shape of the new government is coming into focus with Ministerial responsibilities now mostly confirmed. Check out our new guide to the government for more detail at: http://www.bioindustry.org/document-library/bia-guide-to-the-government/. Last week saw key Queens Speech votes in parliament – which ensures we are not facing the prospect of an immediate election, but did confirm that Jeremy Corbyn would 3 line whip his Labour MPs to vote down an amendment backing staying in the EU single market. Fifty Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn’s orders and backed single market membership in a vote on Thursday, including Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, who left the shadow Labour team and returned to the backbenches as a result.

The latest MMIP newsletter has been released and you can read the text on the BIA website.

Finally, I wanted to update you on some significant news here at the BIA. Laura Collister has accepted a new role at the BIA as Brexit Lead. This new role reflects the strategic importance of Brexit to the BIA and Laura will lead, develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for Brexit including advocacy, campaigns and issues management as well as devising and leading significant member communications across all channels. Laura has already been leading on this issue for the BIA for the last year whilst providing maternity cover for Pamela Learmonth. Pamela has recently returned from maternity leave and with Pamela back in post as Director of Public Affairs and Communications and Laura continuing at the BIA as Brexit Lead, I am confident that we have a strong team in place to represent your interests at a critical juncture in UK politics.