I know today actually marks 1st June, however it didn’t feel right to share my update following the tragic incident that occurred at Lullingstone Castle towards the end of last week. My sincere condolences and thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends. I spoke to the Chief Constable early on Friday morning, and I know that the police are working hard to identify the culprits; they have also assured me there will be an increased police presence on the area. Anti-social behaviour should not, and will not, be tolerated in our local community and I am working hard with Kent Police and Matthew Scott, our Police and Crime Commissioner, to address the situation with immediate effect.
Tomorrow I will return to the House of Commons physically for the first time in nearly two months. During the period of virtual Parliament, we have been very extremely busy, my office have processed nearly 3,000 thousand cases, I have spoken to hundreds of constituents in surgeries and the business of the House has proceeded with virtual questions and select committees. While I remain a strong supporter of the virtual Parliament and believe that provisions must continue for those who are shielding or who have care responsibilities, I do however look forward to our return to physical sessions. Given the current guidelines, a certain level of remote working will continue. I will still be holding daily phone surgeries for the most urgent local cases, and my team will be working from home as per the guidance from the Speaker.
Today also marks the start of a phased return for schools. I have been in touch with many of our local headteachers throughout the pandemic and I know how hard everyone has been working to both educate pupils from home, but also to prepare for today. The Government and headteachers have given a lot of thought to how this process will work, and it is important to remember that this is only now possible because the science shows it is safe to do. Appropriate measures have been put in place to minimise contact; however, the process is rightly going to take time and remains under constant review. My priority remains protecting the welfare of children and staff and I will be closely monitoring developments over the following weeks.
The last few months have been tough, and everyone has experienced difficulties as a result of the outbreak. I am immensely proud of how hard everyone has worked across Sevenoaks and Swanley to pull together. I remain committed to do everything I can to support local people and will continue to work hard to ensure that the Government’s measures to tackle this outbreak are the right ones.
I hope to speak to some of you on our next members’ Zoom call taking place on Friday. Being able to keep in touch during these difficult times is important and I look forward to answering your questions.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley
Below is a snapshot of what we have been working on. If there is anything, I can do to support you, please get in touch.
- As a member of the Health and Social Care committee, I have cross-examined many of the leading scientists and organisations who have found themselves on the front line as part of the country's COVID-19 response. Over the last month I have used this platform to raise local issues with representatives from NHS England, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of General Practitioner.
- Participated in the virtual parliament to question the Government about their response to the pandemic. This included asking the Work and Pensions Secretary about supporting and promoting jobs in the sectors of the economy which are growing, the Employment Minister on workplace safety, and the Health Secretary on his approach to the test and trace strategy.
- Updated the advice to constituents on my website to reflect the latest guidance from the Prime Minister. This is obviously an ongoing piece of work, given that new announcements are made daily. However, I hope it is a useful resource for anyone needing advice. I have also been producing and sharing graphics on my Facebook page to help communicate what the changes mean to our day-to-day lives.
- Following positive feedback, I hosted my second Facebook Live. As with last month, I shared updates on the response to the coronavirus outbreak across Sevenoaks and Swanley, as well as allowing anyone in the constituency to ask me a question and see me it answer it live on air.
- Every Monday I continue to award the Sevenoaks and Swanley Community Hero award which recognises those who are making outstanding contributions during the outbreak to the local community. Worthy winners over the last month have included Rod Shelton, Eliza Ecclestone, Pastor Ben and Kris Cooper, and the Community Cupboard team. If you would like to nominate an individual or small organisation, please visit my website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We marked Mental Health Awareness Week, which was centred on the theme of kindness. I spoke with West Kind Mind to hear about the fantastic work across Sevenoaks and Swanley they do to support those in need and used by Facebook page to make constituents aware of the Community Check-in they held via Zoom. This year, more than ever, it is important to remember to take care of your mind, as well as your body.
To view my newsletter online please visit: https://mailchi.mp/90f9ac3f174e/may-newsletter-2020
You can also sign up to receive my newsletter on my homepage: https://www.lauratrott.org.uk/