MP Matt Western writes for The Observer in Westminster Diary - The Leamington Observer

MP Matt Western writes for The Observer in Westminster Diary

The impact of coronavirus on the UK has been extremely serious – we have the worst death rate in the world and economists are predicting we will be the hardest hit of all major economies.

The job losses announced by Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover are very concerning and will affect many people locally. I have been calling for greater support for the automotive industry throughout this crisis and have written to the chancellor regarding further economic measures which could help the industry, while supporting the transition to clean vehicles.

While I have reservations about government’s timing of reopening retail, I am pleased to see our town centre shops getting back to business and wish them every success. I am also pleased the government reassessed their decision to prematurely reopen primary schools without any plan for safely doing so. Last week, I asked the education secretary what happened to the laptops he promised schools two months ago to ensure all pupils can continue to learn from home – I understand Warwickshire County Council have since started receiving these. I’m also relieved the government u-turned on their decision not to continue providing free school meals to our least well-off children.

Finally, but certainly not least, I sent a message of solidarity to the protesters in Leamington (where I urged for social distancing), who were using their voice to demand justice for George Floyd. While I can’t condone public gatherings at this time, such moments of collective anger and purpose are often fleeting and must not be allowed to pass. Black and minority ethnic communities in the UK continue to face vast inequalities and we need urgent action to address this. As a starting point, I have added my name to the many MPs calling on the government to immediately end the sale of riot equipment to the US.

Matt Western

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