My regular newspaper column

As I write this column, thousands of people have died of Covid-19, large swathes of the UK economy have been shut down, and, despite support packages worth hundreds of billions of pounds, it is inevitable that businesses will close, bringing a huge loss of jobs.

The entire nation will be (hopefully) spending a sunny Easter bank holiday indoors to reduce the spread of coronavirus to a level the NHS can cope with.

This is the worst crisis Britain has faced since World War Two.

There is not much to be cheerful about, but I am going to try and look for a few thin silver linings in a very dark cloud.

The NHS and other parts of the public sector have responded magnificently.

In a matter of days, whole hospitals were re-arranged and new ones built. Retired health workers have flocked back in their thousands to help. So far, we have avoided the harrowing scenes of chaos witnessed elsewhere in the world.

As well as police, ambulance, prison staff and the army, others have similarly risen to the challenge including many who are not usually thought of as 'key workers'.

From the supermarket shelf-stackers, delivery drivers and refuse collectors to the voluntary groups set up in our communities - thank you.

Having attended some of the Cobra meetings myself, I have been deeply impressed to see ministers from Welsh Labour, the SNP and Northern Irish coalition all working with the Conservative UK Government to secure a common goal - saving as many lives as possible.

There has been no sign of the usual political gamesmanship.

Up and down Britain, many people with office-based jobs have quickly mastered Skype and Zoom and realised how much can be done online.

Could we find ways for this to continue?

We will always need good transport links.

But if office employees spent just one day a week working from home, the pressure on our transport systems would be greatly reduced and the environment would benefit.

This crisis will bring a cost in lives and jobs, making it all the more important that we look for opportunities to create a better economy as a result.

This crisis also means huge changes for many.

It won’t be enough to just get through it - we need to make sure some of those changes are positive.

  • The constituency office in Usk is closed and my staff and I are remotely working from home. As much as we are able, we are taking a 'business as usual' approach. Constituents can still telephone 01291 672817 (calls are diverted) or email

*Published in the South Wales Argus on 12 April 2020*