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All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are cross-party groups for Members of the Commons and Lords which meet together, relatively informally, to discuss a particular issue of concern and tend to avoid favouring one party or another.
While APPGs have no formal place in the legislature, they can be an effective way of bringing together parliamentarians and interested parties such as campaign groups, charities and other non-governmental organisations in the field.
In my role as Chair of the Germany Group, for instance, I believe it is important to foster a cross-national relationship for discussion of important international issues relating to Germany, such as military presence in Afghanistan and stimulus packages and other measures which are being taken in response to the global economic crisis.
The newly created Libel Reform APPG, of which I am also Chair, seeks provides a forum in parliament for the promotion and to raise awareness of the issue of the reform of the law of libel, particularly in relation to the Defamation Bill.
As Secretary of the Rugby Union Group, a position which I have held since 2005, I have a role to play in forging partnerships between government and local and national sporting organisations to ensure the development of grassroots talent, as well as to increase opportunities for people to become involved in sport.
I am also currently Vice-Chair of the Japan Group, as well as being a member of the Groups for Italy, Football, Isle of Mann (Manx) and Beer Groups.