As we look ahead to an Easter weekend of glorious sunshine here in beautiful Gower, I know it will be even more frustrating than usual to be stuck inside. But it's vitally important that we continue to obey the rules on social distancing. We have seen over 200 people die in Wales as a result of the coronavirus, among them a dedicated doctor. Each of these people leave behind grieving friends, family and colleagues, and their deaths are a stark reminder to us all of the importance of following the Government guidance which can be found here.
We must do our part to support our fantastic NHS staff and other key workers who are operating under exceedingly difficult circumstances, and we must not forget their dedication, sacrifice, and professionalism when all of this is over. I also want to send my best wishes to the Prime Minister and his family this week - I hope that he gets well very soon.
This week has seen a new chapter begin for the Labour party with Keir Starmer having been elected as its new leader. I look forward to working with him and all his Shadow Cabinet team both to support the Government in the fight against the virus, and to provide an effective opposition to ensure their actions are properly scrutinised. I’m also really pleased to see fellow Welsh MP Nick Thomas-Symonds take on the role of Shadow Home Secretary. I know that he’ll be a brilliant addition to the Shadow Cabinet and his talents will be put to best use!
We’ve seen a fantastic response from our local community and I’m really proud of the way Gower businesses have stepped up to support the public health campaign against the coronavirus. This week we’ve seen the Gower Gin Company team up with Hugh Phillips Butcher to turn a gin distillery into a production line for hand sanitiser with the butchers providing a delivery service to distribute it. Every £5 bottle will cover the £2.50 cost of making the hand sanitiser and the other £2.50 will see another bottle made and delivered to NHS staff on the frontline. The Glân hand sanitiser is available from bestonlinebutcher.co.uk. Feed the NHS Wales is another fantastic initiative – a collaboration of independent restaurants and food businesses from right across Wales that are providing food and drink to our staff in hospitals. Sian Lloyd and Alun Wyn Jones have set up a crowdfunding page to raise £100,000 to get free food to NHS staff on the frontline. This not-for-profit organisation is being coordinated by our very own Môr Restaurant from the Mumbles, but they are looking for more organisations to participate. If you are able, please do contact email@example.com or check our @FeedtheNHSWales Facebook.
Our NHS staff have worked admirably throughout this crisis to care for us and our loved ones, and as we have seen from the tragic deaths of nurses and doctors, at considerable personal risk. 13.3% of NHS staff come from overseas, rising to almost 30% of our doctors. This week I signed a letter from Christine Jardine and David Lammy to the Home Secretary asking that indefinite leave to remain be granted to all of our wonderful NHS workers who have contributed so fantastically to our national health service. Whatever immigration system we have in place once we leave the EU, there can be no doubt that these are the sorts of people we want to have as part of our society - people who will step up and put themselves on the line for the protection and care of British citizens. They all deserve our thanks.
I was also pleased to sign a letter this week written by Gill Furness MP to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma and the Chief Executive of Royal Mail in support of the proposals from the Communication Workers Union to protect Royal Mail staff. They have quite rightly been classed as key workers for their role in delivering not only our post and parcels, but also essential items such as prescription medicine. They must be protected through social distancing in all offices that remain open, personal protective equipment for all staff, and a suspension of non-essential post such as unsolicited flyers. We cannot expect people to go out to work to keep services we need running without protection and I support the CWU’s call completely. You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page.
If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open as my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increased, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Stay home, keep well, and remember – keep washing your hands!