My seventeenth weekly message to my constituents and local residents across our Royal Town comes at the end of a busy week in both Sutton Coldfield and Westminster.
I thought it might be interesting to provide an update of what a typical week involves at the moment, in terms of meetings both in Parliament and in the Royal Town. Alongside parliamentary business and corresponding with constituents, my week involved a lot of meetings and conversations, most of which usually take place behind the scenes.
Monday to Wednesday this week was spent in Westminster. The House of Commons sits from 2.30pm on Mondays but votes can take place at 10pm or even later. My afternoon on Monday was rearranged at short notice after I had the opportunity to speak in an Urgent Question on Yemen and a Government Statement on the end of the Brexit transition period (you can watch my contributions on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh1dcjrq62DwcP5ztQMoLWg)
Having been approached by many Royal Town dog lovers and pet owners concerned about the future of pet passports I was able to raise this directly Michael Gove, the minster who is leading on the Brexit Negotiations.
On Tuesday I held several meetings and video calls with colleagues from across the West Midlands to discuss economic matters, support for jobs and investment, the Government’s response to Coronavirus, our priorities for the region and our plans for the coming months. Figures released this week show that up to 30th June, 13,400 jobs had been furloughed through the Government's Job Retention Scheme in Sutton Coldfield (approximately 30% of eligible jobs) and 2,800 claims have been made to the Self Employment Income Support scheme (equivalent to 76% of the potentially eligible population).
On Wednesday morning my day began with a virtual meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Choice at the End of Life. I have been elected as the Co-Chair of the APPG. This was followed by a meeting with Sarah Wootton, the Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying alongside parliamentary colleagues – sixty of whom were on the call. This is an incredibly sensitive and difficult subject. I do believe that we need to look again at assisted dying and I am grateful to all the constituents that have contacted me about this subject over the past few weeks.
Following this meeting I joined a conference call with MPs from across Birmingham and the surrounding areas to discuss our local response to the ongoing challenges of Coronavirus, including a discussion about the Test and Trace system. These meetings have taken place each week over the past few months and it is useful to work with other local MPs on a cross party basis on these issues.
In the afternoon I met the Chancellor alongside our West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and several of my West Midlands colleagues. It was a good opportunity to discuss the importance of continued targeted Government investment to support jobs and local businesses.
In the evening I had several meetings on foreign policy and international affairs and then appeared on Carole Walker’s new show on Times Radio to discuss the political developments of the day.
On Thursday I travelled back to Sutton Coldfield. I visited the Lewis Moore Salon on Coleshill Street and had a chat to the team about the ways in which the business has adapted and the measures they have taken to keep their clients and staff safe now that the business has reopened.
I also popped over to Thimble End Motors on the Reddicap Trading Estate to meet with Robert Fiddler and his family, it was good to discuss the car industry and Government support for businesses.
Since the lockdown measures began in March I have continued to have regular conversations with constituents about their concerns, however these have been largely telephone calls rather than face to face appointments so it was nice to spend this morning back in the office seeing constituents at my (socially distanced) advice session.
I look forward to sharing all of the meetings I had on Friday with you all, over the coming days.
As your MP I am here to help. If you feel I can assist with any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in contact by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org