A second Covid spike is now well underway. The weekend figures show a big rise in numbers across the UK and governments will shortly announce plans for further restrictions. Vulnerable people in Wales who had to self-isolate faced problems getting food delivered earlier in the year because of a lack of co-ordination between the Welsh Government and supermarkets. I have contacted Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, to ask for assurances that plans have been made to ensure this does not happen again. If people are being asked to stay indoors then the least we can do is make sure they do not have to worry about access to their shopping.
It is important MPs continue to carry out visits in their constituencies while observing all safety precautions. Amongst other things, I was able to pop into King Henry VIII Comprehensive School in Abergavenny on Friday to discuss their approach to tackling bullying and inappropriate behaviour. The rise of social media sites has fuelled unpleasant behaviour by people of all ages. For some reason people seem willing to make personal comments on social media sites that they would never use to someone’s face. This has been a cause of problems within schools, with many young people suffering from levels of anxiety and depression because of comments made or a failure to get enough “likes” on sites. Compounding this has been the effect of months away from school, limited access to friends and the general stress caused by a lack of certainty about the future. No wonder the number of young people calling helplines has doubled this year. King Henry VIII has a fantastic system for supporting young people through these difficult times. Whether people are the victims of or are causing anti-social behaviour, there is a team of professionals inside the school ready to help students. It was a pleasure to meet those involved.
The Agriculture Bill returns to Parliament this week and the UK Government has always been clear that leaving the EU will not mean lowering food standards. Legislation was passed which incorporated EU food standards into British law. It would therefore be unlawful to import chlorinated chicken or hormone-injected beef from America. The existing legislation overrides any trade agreements. Fears that the UK is about to start importing substandard food are completely misplaced and seem to be being talked up by those who remain implacably opposed to Brexit. Unless the government decides to change laws, substandard food cannot legally be imported into the UK - and the government has no intention of changing the law on food standards. I keep being asked why government ministers don’t make this clear. This answer is they have done, and I am happy to do so again.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 14 October 2020 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 15 October 2020*