I am so pleased that the Prime Minister has now set out a roadmap to bring us out of lockdown cautiously, starting with returning children to school – which is crucial for their education and wellbeing – and prioritising ways for people to reunite with their loved ones safely.
Last Thursday I visited the vaccination centre at the Ramsbury surgery. Everything good about the NHS and the British people was on display: the good-humoured waiting your turn (though no one had to wait for long), the unobtrusive efficiency, and the peculiar and possibly unnecessary queuing system that snaked round and through the building. All in all, a brilliant demonstration of a brilliant programme. 450 people were vaccinated the day I visited. My thanks and congratulations to the partners, Practice Manager Alison Harrod and all her colleagues.
On Friday I hosted the Wiltshire Climate Summit, online of course. This November in Glasgow the British Government hosts COP26, the grand jamboree for discussion and decision-making about global warming. The summit, which included Claire Perry O’Neill, my predecessor as MP and former President of COP26; the PM’s envoy to business for the net zero target, my colleague Andrew Griffith MP; NFU President Minette Batters; and a host of local farmers, businesspeople, students, activists and other residents, explored a range of options for reducing mankind’s harm to the planet – while ensuring we don’t just stop the engines of the economy and further disadvantage the people and places left behind. I look forward to more discussions on environmental policy and to representing as many of these ideas and voices as I can in the run-up to COP26.
I felt honoured to speak in Parliament earlier this month in support of the quinquennial Armed Forces Bill, the traditional legislation by which the legal basis of the Army is periodically renewed. The Armed Forces Bill also enforces on all local councils and public services an obligation to fulfil the Military Covenant – a pledge of non-discrimination against serving personnel and their families. I was glad to have the opportunity in my speech to acknowledge the work of Wiltshire Council in successfully resettling thousands of soldiers and their families returning from Germany.