John Mann’s Pilgrim 400 debate in Parliament

Bassetlaw MP John Mann recently asked questions in Parliament about the plans for the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage, coming up in 2020.

You can read the debate in Hansard or watch the debate on parliamentlive.tv.

Mr Mann outlined the history of the Pilgrims, and their roots in Bassetlaw:

“At first glance, nonconformity and its influence on democracy are a series of extraordinary coincidences based in the beautiful setting of rural Bassetlaw, and they are all linked by geography, message and history. The modern history of our great ally and special partner, the United States of America, comes from a tiny group of men and women who, in the autumn of 1620, arrived on board the Mayflower at Cape Cod in Massachusetts. They were a group of religious and political nonconformists who risked their lives, and at times lost their liberty, in order to establish the basis and values of the society they wanted. It was a society that, through the Mayflower compact—which was the basis of that first settlement on the east coast of America—created both the foundations for the constitution of the United States and the model for parliamentary democracy.”

Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, acknowledging Plymouth’s role in the story of the Mayflower, invited Mr Mann to join with him and co-chair an all-party parliamentary group to recognise the 400th anniversary.

Mr Mann positively embraced the invitation, hoping that a:

“Bassetlaw-Plymouth amalgam cross-party group would be a powerful way to spread the message of the values and principles of the Mayflower Pilgrims.”

In response to Mr Mann’s statements about Bassetlaw, David Evennett, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, stated that:

“It is only right that all parts of the United Kingdom that were involved in that momentous occasion can profit from the renewed interest that the citizens of the USA will have in visiting the UK as part of the 400th anniversary commemorations in 2020. This matters not just for the constituencies involved, but for tourism and the economic benefits brought by those tourists from America and other parts of the world, because we have a great story to tell. American tourists spent nearly £3 billion in this country in 2014.

The Plymouth area has received financial support from the Government, with £35,000 announced to upgrade facilities at the Mayflower museum. However, I would like to allay any fears that the people of Bassetlaw might have that all Mayflower-related financial support is going to Plymouth and will not be distributed across the country: £500,000 worth of support was announced in the autumn statement 2015 by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, as we heard, for Mayflower-related celebrations across the country. VisitEngland is in the process of allocating that sum and will involve in its work a number of areas across the nation, not just the city of Plymouth.”

You can read the full debate from 9 March 2016, including Mr Mann’s history of Bassetlaw, in Hansard.

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