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19th Jan, 2022

MP Matt Western writes about Coronavirus, schools and Brexit in Westminster Diary

Parliament is back which allows me to get on with the job of holding government ministers to account in person – on your behalf. This is particularly important now that we’re seeing a significant rise in Covid across the country. While cases are still relatively low in our community, they are creeping up at the fastest rate in months. I urge you to continue to exercise caution through adhering to social distancing and wearing masks in indoor public spaces. It’s clear government is still struggling to get a functioning test and trace regime and this must be resolved with urgency if we are to avoid further lockdowns.

Since being back, I have questioned the education secretary twice on the challenges for our schools – focusing on the safety, as well as provision of laptops to ensure every pupil has access to learning from home when needed. I want to take this opportunity to thank school staff and leadership teams, including governors, for their work getting schools ready for reopening. We must exercise extreme caution, and I will be regularly checking in with schools, but there has been an enormous effort to get pupils back which should be recognised.

I must mention Brexit, as the topic creeps back into the news. The deadline for agreeing a trade deal with the EU is looming. The government promised that it had an ‘oven-ready’ deal: that it would strike a trade deal by December and that is what must be delivered. This must mean free trade in goods and services, and maintaining protection for workers, consumers and the environment. A ‘no deal’ would be seriously damaging for our manufacturing sector and I can assure you that I will do all I can to hold the government to account on these promises, which are vital to the long-term prospects of our country.

Matt Western

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