Weekly Round-Up

With Christmas approaching fast we all want to have time with our family and friends. Last year the vast majority of us followed the rules; staying away from loved ones when we most wanted to be with them. We did this to keep Bristol safe from the rapidly rising Covid-19 rates. I know that this sacrifice meant some of you missed final Christmases with relatives and that pain will still be felt today. That heartache must only have been intensified by revelations that the Prime Minister held several parties in Downing Street. Obviously, he believes that the rules didn’t apply to him.

This is a dangerous time for our country. To have someone in charge that has taken a wreaking ball to public trust is not someone who is fit to lead. But I implore you to take extra care this winter to ensure we can protect the NHS from being overwhelmed by Omicron.

Whilst we may not have faith in this Prime Minister, we do in the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty. He is someone of integrity, expertise and compassion for keeping our country safe. Professor Whitty has told us to minimise contact with those we don’t necessarily need to see and prioritise those who we desperately want to meet over Christmas. I thoroughly endorse his pleas. 

Please keep safe, get your booster jab and remember that together we can secure the better future we all yearn for.

The business of holding the Government to account stretches far beyond Covid-19 and this week I took part in legislation to argue against the proposed scrapping of trailer safety tests for drivers on our roads.

The Government are seeking to remove the need for car and trailer tests required for drivers who tow heavy trailers. The Government continue to push the notion that this is needed to increase the number of driving examiners to increase the number of HGV tests available. However, all evidence shows that we have excess capacity in our testing regime. Moreover, I have the backing of the Road Haulers Association and the Association of British Insurers that these measures are dangerous and not required.

The Government are now unleashing thousands of untrained, unsafe and unqualified drivers of trailers on to our roads. It really does beggar belief that we are still doing this.

In my new role acting as the Shadow Minister for Social Care, providing maternity leave cover, I took part in a virtual roundtable. We were joined by a large number of influential expert stakeholders in the sector who shared their views on how we can develop a social care system that works for all. 

When we support and fund social care, we can help families stay together, children enjoy a childhood, the elderly grow old with dignity and love. This is the society that Labour want to build and working with stakeholders within society is how we achieve that.  

I met with other members of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee this week to hear from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman about the impact of the pandemic on their ability to carry out their work. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is an incredibly important body which exists to hold the public sector to account and works to ensure that the taxpayer is getting value for money for the work within the public sector. It is therefore incredibly important that their work has continued throughout the pandemic.

I was pleased to join BBC News on Wednesday evening to discuss the new Covid protection measures. It was extraordinary to see a hundred Tory MPs marching through the no voting lobby in Parliament this week against these precautions. The Prime Minister is now rudderless and unable to lead his party or government.

Thankfully, Labour stood up when the Conservative Party stood aside. Without Labour votes, including mine, these Covid protection measures wouldn’t have passed and we would have been in a perilous situation as a country. 

I know that this Christmas seems to be a case of history repeating itself with Covid infections on the rise. This will no doubt be another tough yuletide. But I want everyone in Bristol South to remember that together better times will be with us. If we follow the rules, showing an example to those who do not, we can protect our loved ones from this horrendous pandemic. 

Wishing you a safe Christmas. Let’s all look out for each other so we can have a better 2022.

As ever, if there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing Karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 0117 953 3575.