I RETURNED to the House of Commons at the end of December where we ended the year with a momentous day, as the EU (Future Relationship) Act 2020 became enshrined in law.
I voted to deliver the democratic will, and the very good trade agreement that the Prime Minister and the government’s negotiating team have achieved.
It was my honour to be in the chamber, representing West Dorset, as Royal Assent was received and the bill became law in the early hours of December 31; and I hope now that we really can move on from Brexit.
I was also present earlier that day as the Health Secretary shared the latest coronavirus tier review update with us; and, following months of sustained challenge, the government has uncoupled West Dorset, and wider rural Dorset, from the Bournemouth and Poole area.
Despite all we have done to follow the rules, rates of infection have continued to rise across the country and we are now in a tough lockdown.
I’m grateful to the team of volunteers at Lyme Regis Community Support who have, yet again, demonstrated true community spirit; by helping those in need with shopping, prescription collection and much more.
Small businesses, particularly those in retail, hospitality and leisure, have been hard-hit economically.
In response to my challenge to the Business Secretary on December 15, for fair support for West Dorset’s businesses during prolonged restrictions, the Chancellor has this week announced enhanced measures and new grants to protect jobs in coming months; and I will continue to press for more help in the future.
Please continue to support the shops and eateries in Lyme Regis and surrounding areas who are offering deliveries and takeaways; and remember to shop safely when visiting essential retailers.
This has also been a difficult time for education and I would have preferred that schools did not have to close. I’ve been in regular contact with The Woodroffe School, and neighbouring primary schools, in the last week, to ensure the government knows our position; and I’m grateful to the many teachers and support staff in schools who continue to teach and care for the children of critical workers.
We now need to focus our efforts on pushing down our local infection rate again; as we did so successfully just a few weeks ago. Personal responsibility remains key and, with vaccines offering us a light at the end of the tunnel, I am hopeful this can be achieved.
In the meantime, for further information, advice and support please visit my website at www.chrisloder.co.uk/coronavirus
MP for West Dorset