On 25 June, as part of the IPU's 130th anniversary celebrations, the Chair and Executive Committee of the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU) invited members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords to attend a diplomatic reception in Speaker’s House. Members of the Diplomatic Corps, key stakeholders in the UK Parliament and a visiting delegation from the Italian Parliament were also invited (Italy was one of the nine original member countries of the IPU, along with the co-founders United Kingdom and France).
The Chair of the BGIPU, John Whittingdale, welcomed guests with a tribute to the legacy of the IPU’s UK co-founder, Sir William Randall Cremer MP. He spoke about how the IPU’s work remained as relevant today as when it was first founded on 30 June 1889. This was followed by remarks from the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, on the value of the IPU’s work and his engagement with the BGIPU over the years as a member and, later, in his capacity as Honorary President of the Group as Speaker. The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, closed the formal remarks with a recollection of his very active engagement in the BGIPU Executive Committee in previous years when he had attended IPU Assemblies and led bilateral delegations, highlighting the importance of inter-parliamentary dialogue and cooperation in the uncertain times we face across the globe.
The IPU’s 130th anniversary takes place on 30 June 2019, on the International Day of Parliamentarism.