IWA Parliamentarian of the Year Award




Awarded for...

2008 Charlotte Atkins MP Staffordshire Moorlands

In announcing the winner of the inaugural ‘Parliamentarian of the Year Award’, IWA wished to recognise that Charlotte Atkins MP has been at the forefront of both the IWA campaign to seek funding for the waterways and in support of the waterways movement in general.

2009 David Drew MP Stroud

In announcing the winner of the ‘Parliamentarian of the Year Award’ 2009, IWA wished to recognise that David Drew had shown dogged determination not to let severe difficulties and setbacks cause a major strategic restoration within his constituency to falter, and had given support and guidance to his local authority and local Trust and helped rescue what might initially have seemed a lost cause. He had attended all the adjournment debates, and worked furiously behind the scenes to bring many elements together, being a willing ear to IWA concerns. He had also been generous in his support of the waterways in general by chairing the two select committee investigations into British Waterways, the reports from which have helped inform the debate on the future of the waterways and funding, and in doing so promoted waterways in the minds of Parliament and Ministers, and not just helped support the cause of the Cotswold Canals restoration but of all waterways in general.



Michael Fabricant MP


Bob Laxton MP (jointly awarded)

Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield

Bob Laxton, MP for Derby North.

IWA exceptionally made its 2010 inland waterways ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ award jointly to both Bob Laxton MP and Michael Fabricant MP. Being the last annual dinner before the General Election in 2010, it gave IWA the opportunity to thank MPs, some of whom are standing down, for their efforts over the last Parliament. The awards recognised that Michael Fabricant has been a long standing supporter of IWA and canals in general for many years. He is keenly committed to the re-opening if the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals, supporting the local trusts, has held well supported Adjournment Debates on waterways funding issues, and believes in a cross party consensus on supporting our waterways. Bob Laxton was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group from 2005 until the general election; is President of the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust, is a regular contributor at Adjournment Debates on waterways issues, and tabled more Early Day Motions on the waterways than any other MP.

Rt Hon Alun Michael MP  Cardiff South and Penarth

Alun Michael has been a great supporter of the waterways for many years where his enthusiasm about the need to develop partnership between Government and the community and voluntary sector couldn’t be more relevant than it is now. When he was the Waterways Minister he recognised the need for public investment in the waterways.

Fiona Bruce MP Congleton

In making the award, Clive Henderson, national chairman of The Inland Waterways Association, made special reference to Fiona’s impact in providing such generous support for the inland waterways throughout the preceding year. A member of IWA, Fiona is treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group and has played an active role in the run up to the formation of the new Canal and River Trust charity, helping IWA’s campaigns team by asking questions in parliament, and attending the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group hearings where she didn’t shrink from asking searching questions of Canal and River Trust trustees. Fiona has two IWA branches in her constituency and has also provided valuable parliamentary and practical support for them during the year.

2013 (not awarded)

2014 March Sir Tony Baldry MP Banbury

Sir Tony Baldry MP, a former Waterways Minister, was presented the award for his long history of support for IWA and the inland waterways. Whilst Waterways Minister, he attended and opened IWA's 1991 National Festival at Windmill End as well as attending one of IWA's Waterway Recovery Group digs on the Wilts & Berks Canal. Sir Tony has been a member of IWA for over 20 years and his influence on the inland waterways continues as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group.

2015 November Richard Benyon MP Newbury
The MP for Newbury, who was Minister during the transfer of more than half the country's navigations from British Waterways to Canal & River Trust, has retained a strong interest in the inland waterways and was recently elected as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways.
Presenting the award, IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge, said:  “The support our inland waterways get from so many politicians always makes this a difficult decision and this year has been no different. Transferring inland waterways from government to charity control with an appropriate funding package was a brave and wise decision which recognised what volunteers bring to the waterways, and it is this as well as Richard’s continuing involvement in the waterways that make him this year’s IWA Parliamentarian of the Year.”
2016 November Rt. Hon. The Lord German OBE
Lord German has been a leading advocate for our canals and rivers for some years with the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways and is currently a Vice Chair of the Group. He is a former leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Deputy First Minister of the National Assembly of Wales. Lord German is also President of the Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust, which is working to restore the Ty Coch lock flight on a derelict section of the canal in Cwmbran.
Presenting the award, IWA National Chairman Les Etheridge said: “Through his staunch support for and active involvement with the inland waterways both at Westminster and locally in South Wales, Lord German is a very worthy recipient of this trophy. The Canals Trust of which he is President promotes all that is good about our inland waterways – restoration of the canal, economic regeneration, training, work experience for young people, health benefits and community involvement.”
2017 (not awarded)

2018 March Wendy Morton MP Aldridge & Brownhills

Wendy Morton has been a great supporter of the inland waterways over a number of years, not least when IWA held its Festival of Water at Pelsall, in her constituency, in 2016, and more recently in her support for the Middle Level Bill when it returned to the Commons in October 2017.

2019 May Andrew Bridgen MP North West Leicestershire

Andrew Bridgen was nominated by members of both the Ashby Canal Trust and the Ashby Canal Association (ACA) for his unwavering support and assistance regarding many difficult issues that have arisen on the Ashby Canal restoration.
He was particularly commended for his work with HS2, focusing on the proposed routing of the high-speed rail link and limiting its impact on the Ashby Canal. He was also thanked for his efforts in helping to overcome progress problems with Leicestershire County Council and his continuing work on issues with Defra and the Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO).