One of the many things that I have been most struck by following the outbreak of Coronavirus across the nation and in my own constituency of Wolverhampton South West has been the ways in which the nation and the city of Wolverhampton has come together as one big community during this time of national emergency.
Of course, I do not need to be reminded of the pride which people in Wolverhampton place in their community. But this episode has brought home to me the fact that Wolverhampton is a very special place which has some amazing attributes – it is friendly, welcoming, and inspiring. In many ways, this has reminded me of why I came with my family to Wolverhampton and stood to be its MP.
Over the last few weeks and months, I have also been overwhelmed by the many and varied ways in which many individuals and groups in the constituency have come together to shield our community and to particularly help the elderly and medically vulnerable during this undeniably challenging time.
The current situation surrounding Coronavirus has also made real for me the huge responsibility that goes with stepping into public life – whether as a volunteer, a local councillor, or as a Member of Parliament. When individuals are elected to serve in public life, they also ‘sign up’ to follow a specific set of ethical standards known as ‘Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life’. These principles are:
During my election campaign, I often said that, if you voted for me, I would be a member of parliament that effectively represents local people, gives voice to their concerns, and inspires hope in the communities that constitute this constituency. Throughout my time as an MP, I will try my best to live up to these standards, I challenge all constituents to hold me to account on this pledge.
This week, I reached an important milestone; I responded to my 2000th piece of casework since being elected MP. This could not have been achieved without the hard work of my staff. But I also recognise that this effort has required a lot of hard work with external agencies – local government and health organisations, housing associations, and government agencies just to name a few. That is why I welcome the fact that, for example, the Government is providing the City of Wolverhampton Council a total of £16,653,803 in additional spending to continue providing its essential services to those who are in need.
When I was elected as the Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West just over half a year ago in December 2019, I could never have anticipated this situation that we now face. Nevertheless, I believe that, by working together in partnership and collaboration, we can - and that we will - get through this. My staff and I remain ready to support all our constituents, now and in the future.
Schools Art Competition:
One of the driving themes during my time as the member of parliament will be to foster greater political engagement, especially among young people in the constituency. I have already spoken in Parliament about the need for all young people to have a place away from home which they can call their own. This should be a place where young people feel safe and are supported by fully qualified professionals.
On Monday (4th May), I will be launching a new campaign for young people – an art competition. As you may know, I moved into my constituency office just one month before the outbreak of Coronavirus, so the walls in my office are still quite plain. I would like to fill the background with as many inspiring and uplifting drawings and paintings from young people (three to sixteen-year olds) as possible.
It would be great to make these in support of our key workers and the NHS. I know that many young people in Wolverhampton (South West) will have parents/guardians and other relatives or family friends who are serving on the frontline in the response to Coronavirus. Their work of art could be in honour of them or it could be independent.
I will be running this competition for one month, from Monday 4th April 2020. Every entry will get a certificate from me thanking them for their contribution. Please make these as bright and as colourful as possible! These can be scanned and emailed to email@example.com . If young people and their guardians do not have a scanner, don’t worry! You can always take a photo and send it via the same email address as above. Let’s get creative and decorate my office!