It was very sad to hear last Friday that HRH the Duke of Edinburgh had passed away. He was a man who knew Romsey and Broadlands well, and of course spent part of his honeymoon here. He devoted his life to supporting HM The Queen and was as we all know, her rock and support. I can remember being surprised when I met him, and was introduced as the MP for Romsey, that he quickly added, “and somewhere else”. He was as sharp as a tack even well into his 90s. Parliament was recalled on Monday for a day of tributes to a very remarkable man. This afternoon I will be watching the service of Commemoration at Winchester Cathedral which is available via Facebook and YouTube.
This week I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on the access to services for disabled people during the pandemic. The Women and Equalities Select Committee has done a great deal of work on this, and we published a report just before Christmas which the Government has been obliged to respond to. Some of our recommendations have already been delivered on, but others remain outstanding, including in the area of special educational needs and the support young people have received over the last 12 months. I also contributed in the debate on the Domestic Abuse Bill, which I very much look forward to making on to the statute book after having had its passage disrupted by prorogation and the General Election back in 2019.
I am looking forward to a range of visits over the next few days including to a L’Oreal Salon (not for my own hair I hasten to add)! It has been great to see non-essential retail, hospitality etc opening up in the Town over the last 5 days. There are some great initiatives about supporting local small businesses to help them to recover from what has been a terrible time for them economically. It is possible to do that whilst staying safe and respecting social distancing, and I know many businesses have put in amazing measures to facilitate re-opening. I am certainly looking forward to doing my bit over the next few weeks.
The over 45s can now book their covid-19 vaccination and I have mine scheduled for a week on Monday, which I am very much looking forward to. I found the booking process quite straightforward, done on my mobile phone long before the website crashed on Tuesday morning.