Ashbourne News Telegraph
Parliament rising does not mean that the work stops for busy MPS
DALES MP Sarah Dines looks back on the first half of an extraordinary parliamentary year and reflects on much good work achieved
ON Thursday last week, Parliament rose for summer recess. Recess isn’t a holiday for MPS, as some people may think. All our constituency responsibilities and engagements and casework continues, but we don’t sit in Parliament.
The House rising for recess is around the mid-point of the parliamentary year. So this seems like a great time to reflect on the year so far.
We all know how hard this past year has been. The pandemic has been incredibly difficult and heartbreaking for many. It has dislocated life as we knew it. There is now light at the end of the tunnel.
The vaccination programme has been an incredible success and in Derbyshire Dales we have a fantastic team of NHS professionals and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make us safe.
I am so pleased to see tourism returning to the Dales for the summer – and now lockdown has lifted, it is fantastic to see people enjoying our pubs and restaurants once again.
I know some people remain anxious about us unlocking and I encourage everyone to use their common sense regarding how they look after themselves and each other.
Earlier this year I was honoured to pay tribute in Parliament to
His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on behalf of the people of Derbyshire Dales. I passed on our respects.
I know we were all saddened to hear of his death. The tributes in Parliament were incredibly moving and I welcomed the opportunity to add my voice in paying my respects to this great man.
Politically, some very important Bills passed this year. In February, I spoke in the Armed Forces Bill debate, raising the need for veterans to be supported in terms of housing, education, and mental health provision.
We owe our forces personnel, veterans, and their families an enormous debt of gratitude for their selfless actions in order to help keep our country safe.
We have all seen first-hand their commitment and hard work during the Covid pandemic.
I have seen just how efficiently they assisted with the delivery of the rollout of testing in Derbyshire Dales and just how important they have been in assisting with the vaccination programme.
Quite literally, we owe many lives to them.
Having seen the Bill grow from meetings with personnel, veterans and charities at the preliminary stage, to seeing it land on the statue book, was fantastic. It was a privilege to help with and vote for this legislation.
Likewise, earlier this month, I spoke in support of the Police,
Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill in support of tougher sentences for serious crimes and in favour of introducing new crimes in relation to illegal encampments where vehicles can be seized and trespassers banned from returning to the site where they have camped, illegally, for 12 months.
This Bill will give police the powers they need to tackle illegal encampments swiftly and effectively.
This has especially been an issue around Bakewell, Ashbourne and Matlock where illegal encampments have occurred repeatedly.
To be clear, those from the traveller community that the council owe a duty to will continue to have access to support and in the future a permanent site will be provided, as is required by law.
This year I have also been lucky to welcome many ministers to Derbyshire Dales to see first hand the issues that residents face.
The Secretaries of State for Health, Culture and Northern Ireland, the Minister for Schools, the Tourism Minister, and just last week the Minister for Employment, have all visited Derbyshire Dales this year.
I cannot forget, of course, the Prime Minister’s visit earlier this year to a local farm to discuss the difficulties of upland farming with farmers and NFU representatives. It was wonderful to welcome him to Derbyshire Dales.
It has been an incredibly busy seven months. There have been a lot of challenges and a lot of positives too.
I am sure the rest of the year will be even busier, but I look forward to it. After all, I am incredibly privileged to represent you.
I have been lucky to welcome many ministers to the Dales to see first hand the issues residents face.