Parliament is now in recess until the first week of September. Regardless of what you may read in some national newspapers, this period is not a holiday for MPs.
During the recess an MP isn’t sitting in the House of Commons Chamber in debates, isn’t voting and isn’t able to hold Ministers to account by asking them questions. However, if it is in the public interest, the Speaker can recall the House of Commons at any time, at the request of the Government, and MPs are expected to return to Westminster from wherever they are.
While my two rescue Labradors, Chase and Sophie, are going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few weeks, I will still be out and about in the constituency on visits and working in my office. For example, tomorrow, I am going to see the brand new Lidl store in Coleford as well as visiting the 1st Battalion the Rifles at Beachley Barracks. I also plan to visit Mabey Bridge in Lydney to hear how their engineering firm has adapted their operations to work in a Covid-secure way and the work they are doing on HS2.
Meanwhile, the work of assisting my constituents in the Forest of Dean will continue throughout the summer. My constituents can contact me about their issues by email, ‘phone or in writing. My team and I always try to make sure that constituents who contact me receive a clear and comprehensive answer to their question which often involves writing to my ministerial colleagues.
Westminster may be quieter over the summer recess, but there is still much work to do. Over the past few weeks, I have visited recently reopened retail businesses in Cinderford, Newent, Coleford and Lydney. I have also started visiting businesses in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors. Over the last couple of weeks I have visited Forest Holidays’ Forest of Dean site and The Speech House Hotel. It was great to see the measures being put in place so both locals and visitors can enjoy summer safely. I look forward to visiting more businesses over the summer.