I was going to focus solely on the UK Internal Markets Bill which has made some headlines over the last few weeks and taken up much of my In-tray. However due to the additional Covid-19 restrictions, announced by the Prime Minister, I will also comment on these new measures.
Firstly, the Internal Markets Bill. My commitment to the residents of Stourbridge was that we must get Brexit done. That is the promise that the Prime Minister and I made to you all and that is what we will deliver. The UK Internal Markets Bill will help us in this endeavour. It is in our national interest. It is well known that negotiations for a free trade deal, which would negate the Withdrawal Agreement, have been fraught, with the UK not prepared to give way on our sovereign waters, certain state aid aspects of the level playing field and governance.
The relevant clauses in the Internal Markets Bill are intended as a safety net to ensure protection of our Union and the Good Friday Agreement, if agreement between the EU and the UK cannot be made.
The British public want us to get on with delivering Brexit and it is our responsibility and my responsibility as your MP, to do so. Faced with the choice of supporting my constituents or the European Union, I know whose side I am on.
Not a week goes by that I am unable to mention Covid-19. Sadly, in the last fortnight, daily hospital admissions in England have more than doubled. Tens of thousands of daily infections in October would lead to hundreds of daily deaths in November and those numbers would continue to grow unless we act. This is because, as with all respiratory viruses, Covid is likely to spread faster as autumn becomes winter. Yesterday, on the advice of the four Chief Medical Officers, the UK’s Covid alert level was raised from 3 to 4, the second most serious stage, meaning that transmission is high or rising exponentially across the UK. So, this is the moment when we must act. The measures announced by the Government are essential. We must act now to avoid still graver consequences later. The new restrictions will have profound consequences for you all, but we must supress this virus and therefore all have our role to play. It is our collective responsibility to do so.
As the Prime Minister said, “If we fail to act together now we will not only place others at risk but jeopardise our own futures with the more drastic action that we would inevitably be forced to take”.
I urge you all to follow the guidelines. Some may think that having avoided the virus so far then you are somehow immune. That kind of complacency could be our undoing. As the Chief Medical Officer for England said “ You cannot in an epidemic just take your own risk, unfortunately, you are taking a risk on behalf of everybody else”.
We must not jeopardise our futures as this virus has not just infected our lives but our economy. We must all stand together, fight this virus, protect the NHS and save lives.