As we move closer to the summer recess of Parliament, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you all directly on what I and my team have been doing for you in Westminster and across the constituency in these last few months, as well as what the Government has been doing for Beaconsfield.
Firstly, I want to commend the people and businesses of Beaconsfield for what has been a very successful reopening of our high streets, pubs and restaurants over the past few weeks. Speaking to many of you both before and during the reopening there was a great deal of anxiety about how businesses would cope to serve customers whilst also maintaining public health and safety. Thankfully though, your sensible and considerate behaviour has prevented a spike in infections. I have been so pleased to see how willing people are across the constituency to do all they can to keep themselves and each other safe.
As we continue to exit lock-down, I believe the spirit of unity and society, and the belief that “we’re all in this together” has had, and will continue to have, a profound effect upon our communities for many months and years to come. I observed as much during my tour across the constituency on Super Saturday. From Beaconsfield, to Burnham, Gerrards Cross and the Ivers, I was struck by how determined businesses were to operate sensibly and keep their communities safe. I sincerely believe that this responsibility will become a defining feature of our lives moving forward and I am so proud that Beaconsfield has taken this in its stride.
That is why a few weeks ago, I launched the Beaconsfield Hero awards to recognise local champions who have given back so much to their communities through their work or actions. I want to use my platform as your MP to draw attention to positive stories, in addition to important causes and issues, just as I did with racial inequality and the black lives matter protests last month. These awards do that, and I look forward to recognising even more deserving constituents in future.
As well as seeing how I can support communities and local businesses on the high street throughout this tough time, I have also been working hard in Westminster. Last month Buckinghamshire schools, such as Sir William Borlase and the Beaconsfield School, benefited by receiving a share of the £434 million welcome, additional Government investment. During the election I pledged to ensure that all schools across the constituency, irrespective of their level of attainment, received fair funding from the Government and I am glad that this new money reflects that.
I have also spent a great deal of time representing and fighting on behalf of workers who have, or will be, hit hard by the pandemic. In particular, I feel strongly that British Airways employees are being treated very unfairly at this difficult and stressful time and I am glad that the Government is now focusing closely on this issue.
Additionally, I have spent time discussing the issue of free speech in our schools, universities and workplaces with colleagues and on the floor of the House of Commons. This was spurred on by a very productive meeting I had with some young constituents who were concerned by the worrying and illiberal trajectory that many schools and public institutions are following. Whilst this is by no means a widespread or endemic issue, it is always concerning when people, particularly the young and those in positions of influence in public service, forget, or fail to grasp, the importance of freedom of speech. A healthy democracy depends upon the ability of its citizens to speak freely so that they can propose new ideas and challenge established ones. I was so glad that the Leader of the House, the Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, agreed with me about this and I hope to see this issue looked at more closely in Parliamentary time.
My work as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Foreign Office has of course also continued to keep me busy. So far, we have successfully brought 1.3 million Britons safely home. This is all thanks to the tireless work of my team and the staff at the Foreign Office.
In the constituency many have understandably sought support from my office in these troubling times. The volume of emails and letters we have received since the start of the pandemic is certainly unprecedented and MPs across the country are experiencing similar volumes. Since March we have received over 11,000 emails - and they keep on coming. In such testing times it is right that you look to your Member of Parliament for help and advice but given the volume of cases it is possible that we may take slightly longer to reply to your correspondence. Rest assured that my team and I read, record and respond to EVERY letter.
I’d like to end by once again reiterating my thanks to everyone across Beaconsfield for looking out each other throughout this crisis. I sincerely hope that brighter days now lie ahead and that you are able to get out and enjoy the summer, in all its glory, safely. You’ve all worked incredibly hard and have set a fine example for generations to come.
Joy Morrissey MP
Member or Parliament for Beaconsfield