MPs back Hull for Wilberforce 2007

Yorkshire and Humberside MPs from both major political parties have backed a Parliamentary motion calling for Hull to be the main national focus for 2007's Wilberforce celebrations.

The celebrations will mark 200 years since the historic Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, introduced into Parliament by Hull MP William Wilberforce.

Diana Johnson MP this week tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) at the House of Commons. The motion reads:

"That this House notes that 2007 will mark the bi-centenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act introduced by Hull Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce; notes that Hull never benefited from the slave trade as some other British port cities did; and believes that this fact and the role that William Wilberforce played in the abolitionist campaign creates an overwhelming case for the nation's celebrations of this bi-centenary to focus primarily on William Wilberforce's home town of Kingston-upon-Hull."

The first sponsors of the EDM include Conservative MPs David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) and Greg Knight (Yorkshire East), alongside Labour MPs Shona McIsaac (Cleethorpes) and Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby).

Diana Johnson MP said: "There is an overwhelming historic case for having the nation's Wilberforce 2007 commemorations focussed on Hull, the place William Wilberforce represented in Parliament.

"It would also be good for Hull's local economy and a fitting recognition of Hull's progressive stance in the present day on issues of development, human rights and fair trade to focus these celebrations in Hull."