I was concerned over the weekend to hear rumours circulating about the future of the Swindon Museum & Art Gallery (SMAG) in Old Town.
Following discussions with the Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Old Town Ward Councillor Nick Burns-Howell, we can confirm that no decision has been made on the future location of our art collection or a closure of Apsley House.
Conversations have begun, but they are at an early stage and are focused on how the Council can increase access to our town’s art collection and create and enhanced home for SMAG, as work continues on the development of the cultural quarter.
I am assured that the key driver here is to create more, not less, access to the fantastic art collection we have in Swindon – I look forward to continuing to work closely with Cllr Nick Burns-Howell and others on this.
If you would like to find out more, please visit: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/news/article/661/swindon_museum_and_art_gallery_is_safe?fbclid=IwAR2JV1L3s26j5Gt1CX7oGYe-uq8R3b6ywk3OdB7b5g3rRO2Gpc5sWh0aJdw.
I had the chance of taking part in a litter pick on Saturday in and around Freshbrook alongside the local councillors and residents. A special thank you must go to Mason, who is only seven years old, for getting in touch with me to help organise this litter pick.
Seeing pictures of the many other teams of volunteer litter pickers we had out in Swindon over the weekend made me feel proud to serve as the MP of a town with such a great sense of community spirit.
This government was elected on a manifesto commitment to make our country safer. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which as Justice Secretary I am spearheading, will do this by equipping police officers with the powers and tools they need to keep themselves and all of us safe, introducing measures to prevent and reduce serious violence and tougher sentencing for the worst offenders.
The Bill contains a large number of measures with the central aim of cutting crime and building safe communities and it was a privilege as Justice Secretary to take this important piece of legislation through its Report Stage in the House of Commons on Monday.
The Prime Minister also set out on Monday what our lives would be like from the 19th of this month, if and when we move to Step 4 of our Roadmap. This decision will be subject to the government’s review of the final data next week.
As we come to the fourth step, we have to balance the risks. These include the risks of disease which the vaccines have reduced but very far from eliminated, and the risks of continuing with legally enforced restrictions that inevitably take their tool on people’s lives and livelihoods, and on people’s physical and mental health.
We must also be honest with ourselves that if we cannot reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, then when will be able to return to normal?
For more information on the Prime Minister’s announcement, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-sets-out-plan-to-ease-restrictions-at-step-4.