By Thanasis Gavos – London
The close cooperation between a part of the Greek Cypriot community in London and the governing British Conservative party was reaffirmed during a meeting that took place this week between the ‘Conservatives for Cyprus’ group and the vice-chairman of the Tories Alok Sharma.
“We wanted to build on the already strong links between the Conservative party and the Greek Cypriot community. We examined practical ways of advancing these links even further,” said Mr Sharma who is in charge of the party’s policy on Black and Minority Ethnic communities.
A large number of the plethora of long-standing friends of Cyprus among the Members of the UK Parliament comes from Prime Minister Cameron’s party. Many of them represent constituencies in north London, where voters of Greek Cypriot origin are numerous. Present in the recent meeting were Theresa Villiers MP, Matthew Offord MP, David Burrowes MP and Nick de Bois MP. As Mr Sharma pointed out, their work and everyday communication with leaders of the Cypriot diaspora in the United Kingdom is the main building block of mutual trust and support.
But how substantial is this mutual support and do meetings such as the one with the Conservative vice-chairman help?
“They do really help. They ensure the leadership of the party is in touch with the views and concerns of the Greek Cypriot community. I don’t know if the action by the UK government on assisting customers of Laiki bank in the UK would be so swift, if the concerns of the community were not already known to the leadership,” said Theresa Villiers referring to measures that were taken to alleviate the blow to the depositors of the Cypriot bank’s branches in Britain, after the decision to wind it up.
The ‘Conservatives for Cyprus’ vice-chairman Andreas Papaevripides said that the close links with the governing party are helpful in the big national problem as well. “Having two ideologically related parties in government in Cyprus and in the UK means that there is real good will. You are among friends, politicians that you know for a long time and who can now influence policies.”
IBNA understands that a proof of this established working relationship will be an event provisionally planned for next January which will attempt to promote investments from the UK to Cyprus.