Yesterday I answered questions as usual in the House of Commons on my work as Secretary of State for Justice in spearheading the government’s reforms to our judicial system. The questions from MPs ranged from the use of technology to ensure compliance with licence conditions to how we can effectively tackle county lines drug trafficking.
Immediately after Justice Questions, the Prime Minister announced further measures, based on the advice of scientific and medical experts and our collective decision in Cabinet yesterday morning, to suppress the pandemic and save lives.
The Prime Minister was clear that these steps were in no way a return to the lockdown we experienced in March, but we have always known that winter would be a difficult period and that should the numbers begin to escalate again, the government would act. We are at a perilous turning point and we must act now to avoid a worse outcome.
That is why we are now asking individuals who can work from home to do so wherever possible – this excludes those essential to running key public services and those who work in professions where home working is not possible.
From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate a table service only, except for takeaways. Together with all hospitality and entertainment settings, they must close at 10pm, but deliveries can continue.
I will be posting on my social media channels a full breakdown of the changes, but in the meantime, I strongly encourage everybody to keep up to date with the gov.uk
Over the past year or so, I have been acting on behalf of many local residents in the Badbury Park area who believe that they have been mis-sold properties by Persimmon Homes.
I have been pressing Persimmon for a residents meeting for many months and following the appointment of Julian Roper as Director in Charge for Persimmon in July, they finally agreed to this request.
On Friday, due to Covid-19 and GDPR these meetings were held on an individual basis in Badbury Park. I attended all 14 meetings to support local residents as they raised issues with Persimmon.
The Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) announced that the beginning of the month that it was launching enforcement action involving four leading housing developers it believes may have broken consumer protection law in relation to leasehold homes, including Persimmon. I will be following the CMA action very closely and will continue to support local residents with this issue.
We are extremely fortunate to have hundreds of volunteers who carry out fantastic work every day, making a huge difference in our local community. Despite facing our own challenges during Covid-19, many people have gone above and beyond to support others during this year’s Volunteers Week, I asked people in the town to nominate their own Covid Community Hero.
As part of this I visited the Royal Mail Sorting Office here in Swindon to present Postman Paul Gibbons with a Covid Community Champion Award. Paul was nominated by a local resident in West Swindon who contacted them to say that Paul rang their doorbell and asked if they needed any help during lockdown as he was aware, as he was aware they were diagnosed with terminal cancer. Since then, Paul has text this person a couple of times a week and calls at my house and helped with shopping and collecting medication.
I would like to thank Paul, along with all of the other Covid Community Champions here in Swindon – our town is lucky to have you!