An intrepid cross-party group of Members of Parliament is about to embark on a challenge of a lifetime by husky dog sled. Far from the comfort of the Palace of Westminster, the MPs will travel 400 kilometres across the Arctic Circle to raise cash for charity.
Taking place next February, the Westminster Arctic Challenge is the first expedition of a new cross-party organisation called The Westminster Challenge, which launches today. Established by a group of young professionals from across the political divide, The Westminster Challenge aims to engage politicians directly in the work of charities in the UK and plans to run two MP challenges during each Parliament.
Nick Clegg (LD), Tobias Ellwood (Con), Emily Thornberry (Lab), Ed Vaizey (Con), and Jenny Willott (LD) will be donning their snow-suits and trekking through Finland, Sweden and Norway to the Tri-nations Border to raise much-needed funds for Crimestoppers, Cancer Research UK and The Children’s Society. Each MP will also nominate a constituency-based charity to benefit.
This trek is no easy feat for those taking up the challenge. Not only will they endure temperatures reaching as low as minus 40 degrees, they will be expected to feed, clean and care for their team of husky dogs, build igloos and ice huts in which to sleep and catch their own fish to survive.
Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield, Hallam, representing the MP team, said: “This is such a fantastic opportunity and we are very excited about the trek. We know it is going to be gruelling and that our fitness and stamina will be put to the test, but it’s worth every aching muscle and chilblain because the money raised will go to help a number of good causes. We will be spending time with the benefiting charities before the expedition to gain a better understanding of their work in the community.
“We believe it is crucial that Parliamentarians get behind charities and support the work they do and we will be encouraging our fellow MPs to do so.”
Richard Stephenson, Founder of The Westminster Challenge, said, “We are delighted to have received a great deal of support from senior members of both the Houses of Parliament and the corporate world to date. The idea behind The Westminster Challenge is to bring politics and charities together. Engaging MPs in charitable work, and encouraging them to get out there and raise funds, is something that will benefit and complement the fantastic work charities already do. We are very excited to be launching our first expedition, which will do just that. ”