Friday, 23 March 2018
‘Trump-watcher’ was Chamber’s after-dinner speaker
Recounting a memorable eight-and-a-half years as America Editor for the BBC, he name-checked several Presidents and Presidential-hopefuls he had interviewed, with anecdotes about each which offered a personal perspective on their very different characters.
George W Bush and Donald Trump were among those falling victim to his slightly ‘sideways’ glimpse at American life, as was the country’s first black President, Barack Obama.
Justin told the nearly 500-strong audience of business leaders, dignitaries and guests at Derby’s Roundhouse, how he was in the crush at the final showdown between Obama and fellow Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton - which Obama won - when he had the “award-winning idea” of interviewing a black man standing in front of him in the crowd.
Justin said that as soon as he could “I tapped the chap on the shoulder to get the interview, only to discover I’d been standing behind fellow British newscaster Trevor McDonald”.
Justin currently spends his mornings grilling British politicians and news-makers as a presenter on the Today programme but remains a keen observer of the American political scene.
The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee and former Education Secretary, Minister for Women and Equalities, Assistant Whip and Economic Secretary to the Treasury, was the other speaker for the evening.
She said she was grateful for the work done on Brexit by Chambers of Commerce up and down the country, particularly their support for a transition period, and said “the good news is that both sides in the talks do want to do a deal and build a long-standing relationship”.
Nicky agreed with what the Chamber has been saying about the need to establish a basis for devolved power for the East Midlands as those areas that had devolved powers were beginning to reap the rewards, as had been made manifest in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement.
She said now was the time to get the region’s ‘asks’ in for the Autumn Budget to ensure we move towards the infrastructure investment parity for which the Chamber is lobbying.
Chamber President Rob Mayo started the evening’s proceedings by reminding guests that the Chamber, as the region’s biggest business representation organisation, was the voice of its members in Parliament on matters ranging from infrastructure investment to Brexit and from international trade to HS2.
He was followed on stage by Scott Knowles, the Chamber’s Chief Executive, who had the pleasure of presenting the Chamber’s Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life to Jennifer, Lady Gretton.
Lady Gretton is Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, a Justice of the Peace, Keeper of the Rolls for Leicestershire, a member of the Leicestershire and Rutland Country Land and Business Association and President of the Melton Mowbray and District Model Engineering Society.
She has served on the Country Land and Business Association Environment and Water Committee at national level. In 1994 she was appointed President of the Rural Community Council (Leicestershire and Rutland) and in 1999 was made President of LOROS.
In 2001 she was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire. In 2004 she was made a Dame of the Order of St John and in the 2017 Birthday Honours List Lady Gretton was made a Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
Receiving the award, Lady Gretton, who is due to retire as Lord Lieutenant, said she had really enjoyed her 15 years in office.
Justin closed the evening with the traditional toast of “to the Chamber”.
A business card draw to win a Lexus car for a weekend was won by Natalie Gasson, of the Federation of Small Businesses.
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The sponsors for the evening were:
East Midlands Reserved Forces and Cadets Association
Workflow Imaging Systems
Leicester Castle Business School
Print Digital Media
1. Chamber President Rob Mayo, Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan, Chamber Chief Executive Scott Knowles and BBC Radio 4 Today Programme presenter Justin Webb
2. Jennifer, Lady Gretton receives the Chamber’s Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life from Chamber Chief Executive Scott Knowles