The Leader Times Series March 27th 2020

Now that the essential legislation on corona virus measures are passed into law, MPs are off to work from home following the same rules that we've asked everyone else to abide by. We'll come back to Parliament as and when more measures need to be formally scrutinised and voted on.

For the last week or so, with all but the core business of Parliament cancelled - no committees, no external visitors etc - the vast majority of my time has been spent at my computer or on the phone dealing with Pendle residents’ questions and requests.  To be honest, we don't need to be physically in Westminster to do that, so we should be avoiding that non-essential travel.  

I can absolutely assure Pendle residents that, even if I'm not physically in Parliament, I still have the channels and the means to get issues across and to get what I need from Government in order to support you.  However, I need your help, in a few different ways.

Firstly, please keep following the advice to stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.  You must stay at home, only leaving for the following very limited purposes: Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible, One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your immediate household, any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person and travelling to and from work, but only where your work cannot be done from home.  We need essential workers like all those involved in food production, food retail, police officers and all our care workers and NHS staff to continue working and for the time being most manufacturing, factories and construction is also continuing. 

Secondly, please volunteer to help your neighbours if you can.  Lots of amazing local schemes have popped up across Pendle, with residents delivering notes to their neighbours offering help with shopping or collecting medicines.  This week the government launched a national recruitment drive for NHS volunteers and 405,000 volunteers stepped up to boost the NHS in just 24 hours.  I continue to volunteer with our NHS as a Community First Responder with the Ambulance Service – something I have done since 2014.   And finally, please bear with me as I am dealing with thousands of contacts via e-mail, telephone and social media daily.  I have an amazing team supporting me, but things may take a little longer than usual.