By the time this column is published, we shall know whether Hornchurch FC have been victorious in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley. Win or lose against Hereford, however, making it to the final is the most tremendous achievement and the community spirit that has been shown in supporting the Mighty Urchins has been fantastic. My team and I have worked with the club’s supporters’ association leading up to the match to help get everyone involved in the celebrations, and local businesses in Hornchurch High Street and beyond have really stepped up. Whatever the result, this will be a community event to remember for a long time.
I know how glad and relieved everyone was that we could move ahead with Stage 3 of the road map on 17 May and get indoor hospitality back open and households mixing again. Ahead of that step, I met the Chief Executive and Chairman of Queens’ Hospital to get the latest picture on covid locally, which was much more positive. We reflected on how far we have come since our most difficult meetings over Christmas, and spoke about the urgent work that now needs to be done to tackle backlogs.
Since my last column, we have also begun a new session of parliament with the Queen’s Speech on 11 May. Government has set out an exciting agenda and I spoke in the debates about our new lifetime skills guarantee to enable flexible access to high quality education and training throughout people’s lives. More support will be given to the NHS, police will be given a range of new powers to fight crime, asylum laws will be overhauled and new planning laws will boost housebuilding. I am ministerial sponsor for the Procurement Bill, which we hope will give small and medium-sized UK businesses more opportunities to bid for government contracts now that we are out of the EU. We are also to invest huge amounts in research and development to boost our reputation as a scientific superpower.
Ahead of the G7 and COP26 climate conference, I spoke to a group of local residents about plans in the Queen’s Speech to improve our environment. I know that residents are also very interested in animal welfare and will welcome new laws to promote the highest standards of animal welfare.
So there is a lot to be getting on with, using our recovery from the pandemic as a catalyst to do things differently and better in the future in a whole range of areas. As ever, if constituents wish to engage with me on any of these issues, please get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org