I think it would be fair to say it has been an interesting week, with a new Health Secretary in the shape of my former boss Sajid Javid. I was pleased to hear him talk so positively from the Despatch Box about the ending of restrictions, a message reinforced on Wednesday when I asked Gavin Williamson about the end of self-isolation for school children. It is one of the biggest issues in my postbag at the moment, parents quite rightly wanting their children to be in school full time and not in and out.
Distressingly in the Lower Test at Nursling there has been a terrible pollution incident with a large quantity of diesel making its way into the river. It featured on the agenda of the Chalk Stream APPG meeting this week and has been causing a great deal of concern with local environmentalists and residents near the river. I have been liaising with both Southern Water and the EA, but the message has come loud and clear from all of us concerned that the response has been too slow. Planning issues in that area are not new to any of us, there were challenges in that part of the Borough when I was first elected a Borough Councillor back in 1999 and sat on Southern Area Planning alongside people like Anne Burrows and when the late Nigel Anderdon was the Parish Council representative sent to tell us of the fears the local community had about inappropriate development so close to such a sensitive environment.
This week I hosted a roundtable with activists and experts on Black Maternal Health, alongside Rochelle Humes who was the presenter of the recent Channel 4 documentary which highlighted the massively increased risk of death for black women during childbirth. I am disappointed the Department of Health and Social Care has shown such reluctance to put in place targets to try to drive those disparities down, and will probably raise this issue at next week’s Women and Equalities Questions, where I get a question as of right without having to submit to the unreliable ballot process.
Finally, what a boost to be able to look forward to the Romsey Festival, the Civic Service and the Sunflower Walk this weekend, given that mush of it is happening outside I shall keep my fingers crossed for sunshine.