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ICE President George Fleming and Chief Executive Mike Casebourne enjoyed life in the corridors of power along with Construction Minister Nick Raynsford at the ICE's parliamentary terrace reception last week. Fleming confirmed that the ICE is soon to enter talks with Raynsford on the export potential of British civil engineering skills.

Earlier, Liberal Democrat MP David Chidgy, while lamenting the engineering profession's relative lack of political influence, claimed the situation was improving. The MP for Eastleigh and a Fellow of the Institution said: 'We have only seven chartered engineers in the House of Commons and that is something we have to address. Why does this profession have so little interest in politics?' But he added that the ICE was giving the profession more influence by talking to civil servants with a key role in framing policies.

Event sponsor Lord Howie of Troon opened proceedings by wisecracking about the Millennium Bridge and the 'rotten' architects who blamed the engineers for its wobble.

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