Yesterday in Parliament, Rob made a speech in the parliamentary debate on Covid-19, where he praised constituents for their perseverance during the current pandemic and urged the government to maintain a careful balance so that the economy, children’s education and our liberties are protected.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Rob said:
"I'm grateful to have the opportunity today to highlight the response in Aylesbury to the extraordinary measures that have been taken to deal with an equally extraordinary public health emergency. I'd like to pay tribute to those across my constituency who’ve shown resilience, compassion and imagination in adapting to live alongside the current pandemic. Just last Friday, I visited Aylesbury Crown Court where under the inspirational leadership of His Honour Judge Francis Sheridan, It has become the first in the country to be back working at 100%, screens have been put in the courtroom to ensure jurors are Covid safe, video links connect with Amersham Courthouse so that sentencing can be carried out there for offenders being held in a secure dock in Aylesbury, and some of the work of the employment tribunal has been relocated to the judge’s own chambers.
"There are countless other excellent examples from across the Aylesbury constituency of firms who have recognised that our lives can no longer be put on hold, as the Chancellor himself put it. Last week the Prime Minister introduced measures that were greatly appreciated for treading a very fragile line - balancing public health with the needs of the economy, Like my constituents, I was relieved that we did not begin a second full shutdown and I agree with the Health Secretary who said today that we are in a different place from March, when so much less was known about Covid-19. Since then, our public services and businesses have been able to implement wide-ranging measures to keep us as safe as possible, while retaining a semblance of a normal life.
"Bucks NHS Trust and particularly Stoke Mandeville Hospital is in a strong position to respond to an increase in cases of Covid-19 and crucially to ensure that those with other health problems do not go ignored, people are still getting cancer, they are still suffering heart problems and they still have chronic conditions, and it must be right that we ensure our brilliant doctors and nurses are able to provide them with the treatment and care they need and deserve.
"I've had a considerable amount of correspondence from constituents who say they do not want stricter measures and notably, a good deal of this has come from those who themselves are in at-risk groups, as they themselves acknowledge, particularly some of the older members of the community. Put bluntly there are grandparents who do not want to be forced to live their final days free of Covid, but banned from seeing their families.
"We undoubtedly face an arduous and gruelling winter, Covid-19 has not yet been conquered as we had all hoped. We must confront the real prospect that this horrendous pandemic will be with us for a long time to come. So I'm glad we had an opportunity to discuss these matters today in Parliament. I recognise that the government needs to act fast to respond to a crisis which is still unfolding and is unpredictable. Equally, I know there's a huge amount of expertise and experience on these benches which could be harnessed for the benefit of all, if given the opportunity to debate and propose improvement in a positive and constructive fashion.
This is not the time for sniping or point-scoring, it is not the time to try to catch out ministers who are doing their level best in desperately difficult times, but it is the time when sincere practical advice and mature scrutiny are most needed to help avoid unintended consequences and steer the path away from foreseeable peril, because we cannot allow Covid-19 to shut off every other aspect of our lives, our economy, our liberties or our democracy.