2021 is now six weeks old and despite the very wintry weather, the lighter nights and occasional sunshine remind us that Spring is coming. This week is half-term and many of you would use the time to visit local attractions, see your family and friends and possibly even take a break away. But this is not possible in this most unusual of years.
We will hear from the Prime Minister next week about how the Government plans to lift the lockdown restrictions. Moorlanders have followed the rules and we have seen our infection rate come down – a tribute to everyone’s efforts. Additionally, our local vaccine roll-out team have vaccinated almost all of those most at risk from the virus – over 200,000 vaccines across the county.
I must urge everyone to keep following the rules as it is only by doing so that we will come through the pandemic as safely as possible.
As well as half-term, Parliament is not sitting this week. It is a great credit to the Speaker and the staff of the House of Commons that Parliament has continued throughout the pandemic. Being able to scrutinise the Government and raise your concerns with Ministers, is best done through parliamentary questions and debates. But, although there is debate in the main chamber, the opportunities for backbenchers to raise issues are limited by the lack of our second debating chamber, known as Westminster Hall.
As Chair of the Procedure Committee, I know how much MPs value being able to hold these debates. I also know how much you value them given the number of letters I receive asking me to take part. I am working hard to see a return of Westminster Hall type debates as soon as possible as we need MPs to have as many chances as possible to raise your concerns.