The huge success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme has meant that across the United Kingdom, life is gradually returning to normal. With Wales moving into alert level two, indoor eating and drinking is once again on the menu. Cinemas and visitor attractions like museums and galleries are also allowed to reopen under the latest easing of lockdown measures. Of course, the first ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue to take part in Cobra meetings with the UK Government and make further decisions about relaxing rules. There is concern about the Indian coronavirus variant, which could pose disruption over the summer, but for now we are on a path back to normality.
I’m delighted to say I will begin holding face-to-face advice surgeries on Friday. Obviously, this will be done with strict social distancing and all necessary safety measures in place. I have held virtual meetings with constituents throughout the pandemic via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but it will be wonderful to meet people in person after a difficult 14 months for us all.
In a similar vein, Members of Parliament and presumably Members of the Senedd, will be able to restart visits in their constituencies. I am attending the opening of the u3a (University of the Third Age) pop-up shop in Monmouth on Wednesday 2 June. Monmouth u3a is a wonderful organisation enabling people in the third age of life, i.e. no longer in full-time employment or bringing up children, to pursue interests of an academic sort. I look forward to finding out more, although I am not intending to retire myself any time soon!
It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the new leader of Monmouthshire County Council and members of his cabinet. Richard John has been a diligent and hard-working councillor for many years. As someone who is passionate about public service and Monmouthshire, I have no doubt Richard will be an outstanding leader. The gender-balanced cabinet he has appointed is dynamic, progressive, ambitious and ready to deliver for residents. I also wish to offer my congratulations to Mat Feakins who will serve as the council’s new chairman. He has done a brilliant job as Mayor of Monmouth and is another excellent ambassador for this county. We now have a great team of representatives who think alike and will want to get on with fighting for Monmouthshire at all levels of government.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 19 May 2021 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 20 May 2021*