MP Julia Lopez: 'Turning a spotlight on digital, media, culture and sport'

RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre

RNA standard bearer for Romford & Hornchurch Michael Gosling, Mick Webb, Jeff Skillman, MP Iain Duncan Smith, air chief marshal Sir Michael Graydon with RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre chairman and volunteers - Credit: Helen Harris

Eighty-one years on from the Battle of Britain, Hornchurch marked its role in the fight by opening a new RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre on the anniversary of that critical World War Two victory.

A tribute to the courageous people who served at the airbase, the centre is the life’s work of volunteers from the Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust.

The special occasion was marked by a flypast of a Hurricane and Spitfire Mk 11a P7350, the only Spitfire still airworthy that took part in the Battle of Britain. 

I was thrilled to attend the opening, not just as Hornchurch’s MP but as the new minister of state at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport following the prime minister’s reshuffle.

The department promotes and protects Britain’s cultural heritage and what better example of the value of that heritage than this new treasure trove of local artefacts about the part our constituency played in protecting the nation during some of its darkest hours.

Julia Lopez, MP for Hornchurch and Upminster

MP Julia Lopez was appointed to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport following the prime minister’s reshuffle - Credit: Richard Townshend Photography

My new ministerial role will focus on digital technology and infrastructure, media, cyber security and the creative industries.

Our region is becoming an increasingly important location for the creative industries with the construction of London’s biggest film studios in Dagenham, and I want to make sure that kind of investment translates into opportunities for local people, community groups and businesses.  

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Our new culture secretary Nadine Dorries has made clear her commitment to making art and culture more accessible to everyone.

Last week I met two Havering residents who are already benefiting from Arts Council funding to do just that.

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Lee Giles of the Habbit Factory runs theatre classes in Harold Hill and Hornchurch for abled and disabled people of every age in our borough, and I also met a producer bringing her new work to Queen’s Theatre.

I also look forward to working with constituents on next year’s big national celebrations in Festival 2022, the Platinum Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games. 

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