Last week saw a gradual, phased return to the workplace for me and my office in Cinderford, as was the case with many workplaces across the country.
It is important that MPs set an example by also heading back to their workplace. While the virtual Parliament was better than not sitting, it isn’t as good as the real thing.
I am pleased that the Government has ensured that MPs who are self-isolating or shielding are still able to represent their constituents through some virtual participation and proxy voting, with further efforts to refine the system on the way.
Members of my team, who have been working hard from their homes, will also be spending some time in the Cinderford office to deal with matters which can’t be done properly from home. In accordance with social distancing guidelines, our drop-in policy will continue to be suspended for the time being.
Last Friday, I visited our local Covid-19 testing site in Gloucester. It was impressive to see the professionalism of the operation overseen by the Royal Welsh in partnership with local emergency services, the County Council and the NHS.
I enjoyed talking to some of the soldiers, some had only recently returned from deployment in Ukraine, about the deservedly warm reception they have received from people across Gloucestershire.
An overview of the NHS test and trace service, including what happens if you test positive for Covid-19 or have had close contact with a positive case can be found on GOV.UK.
Something that has got many talking, and some constituents writing to me, is the distressing killing of George Floyd in the US. It is right that we condemn racism in any form, wherever it rears its ugly head. In the UK, we have a community-based model of policing by consent. We must recognise how fortunate we are to have such a system.
I was, though, appalled to see protests and violence take place over the weekend which, under the Covid-19 Regulations many us have been working so hard to comply with, were unlawful. I have made my feelings clear to the Government on this matter.