THE easing of lockdown is leading to a raft of government announcements to help aid the recovery and get the UK moving again.

I am writing this before the Chancellor’s summer statement but I know already the focus is on infrastructure investment and support for specific sectors like the arts, which received more than £1.5 billion just a few days ago.

We must support our economy in Meon Valley by shopping locally and using local services when we can. I urge everyone to do so because jobs and livelihoods depend on it.

Westminster is busy too with much new legislation coming through, including the Domestic Violence Bill. I very much support this proposed law and I would like to thank the former PM, Theresa May, for all she has done to get it to this point. The bill recognises there are too many loopholes in existing legislation and that women (and men) could be better protected.

I am particularly pleased the government has accepted an amendment designed to stop men from using the so-called ‘rough sex gone wrong’ defence. Other key areas close loopholes and future proof the legislation around areas such tech abuse where partners use personal and home devices and smart gadgets to control their victim. Figures from the charity, Refuge, found 72% of people who had spoken to them had suffered abuse through technology. This will be an important new law.

Sadly, many Conservative MPS were wrongly criticised last month when they voted down a Labour opposition day motion to test NHS workers weekly.

The spin from Labour on this did them little credit, especially when the government’s existing position is for routine testing for any NHS staff member who needs one.

This approach to testing NHS staff has been determined by clinical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer. Capacity for testing is over 200,000 per day and all NHS and care staff can be prioritised for testing. My daughter is an NHS doctor working with Covid-19 patients and she is regularly tested. This means I do take some exception to being told I do not support testing for NHS staff.

The original opposition motion also contained the false assertion that the government is not preparing the NHS for winter or a second outbreak. No wonder Conservatives MPs did not feel able to support it.

Now there has been a large-scale easing of lockdown measures I have been out and about in the constituency safely meeting with business owners large and small to discuss the situation and I would like to thank everyone for their positive attitude and enthusiasm to get the local economy moving. There will be challenges ahead and, I’m sure some setbacks, but the last few weeks has shown some light at the end of the tunnel.

I know many people are very happy our pubs have finally reopened although with strict new regulations. In our part of the world, I do not think we need worry too much about irresponsible behaviour, but I would like to warn everyone these new freedoms are conditional on the infection rate remaining low. Just like in Leicester, they can and will be withdrawn if it becomes unsafe.

Flick Drummond

MP for Meon Valley