Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards writes her monthly column for the community.
The soaring notes of Barber’s Adagio for Strings filled the car and the motorway lights glared in the early morning darkenss.
I was writing a tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on my phone notes. I turned to my husband and said ‘we will remember this journey for the rest of our lives’.
Earlier that morning I had been on Central Avenue for the send off of the Nottinghamshire leg of the Tour of Britain.
It was a morning filled with cheers, flags and Robin Hood hats. Only a few hours later the country was left reeling from the news that our beloved Queen, Elizabeth II had passed away.
Parliament is recalled immediately in the event of the monarch’s death. Like me, many MPs, just back in their constituencies, turned round and travelled back through the night to take part in the tributes to our Queen.
I have never experienced a Parliamentary session quite like it. The grief, loss and shock was etched on people’s faces, the sadness hung in the air.
When I spoke late on that Friday evening I paid tribute to Her Majesty’s sense of humour and fun and the stability and reassurance She provided our country through decades of great change. She did indeed give her whole life to our service, right until the very end.
You can watch my full speech here.
The national mourning period was also a time of real pride as our country come together to grieve for the Queen and to show our support for King Charles.
What an ordeal he and the royal family must have been through, having to lead the nation in mourning whilst having suffered the greatest loss themselves.
It was only through the hard work of many people that we were able to remember the Queen and celebrate her life in the way that we did.
I want to thank everyone who was involved, particularly those in Rushcliffe and Nottinghamshire who set up books of condolence, organised services of remembrance and provided police support to the funeral in London.
Politics returned with a bang last week, with the Government announcing a huge intervention to help keep people’s energy bills down. On top of the £400 support payment which was already announced, the Government will maintain a cap on the unit price of electricity and gas which will keep the average household bill at around £2,500.
There is also support available for businesses, public sector organisations and charities through a cap on the wholesale price of energy. This is a really comprehensive package and the most generous in Europe. I hope it will go a long way towards reassuring people this winter. You can find further details of the package here.
Last week the government also announced its plan to increase the number of available doctors and dentists appointments and to relieve pressures on hospitals by increasing capacity in the social care system.
We all know that QMC is facing a huge demand for beds at the moment and that the East Midlands Ambulance Service is under pressure. I also hear regularly from constituents who can’t find NHS dentist appointments in Rushcliffe so I will prioritise getting the investment we need for healthcare in Rushcliffe.
The Health Secretary announced a £500m fund to help speed up the safe discharge of patients from hospitals. There will also be a recruitment campaign to attract more people to work in the sector.
An enhanced role for community pharmacists and the hiring of more support staff in GPs surgeries was also announced to free up more GP appointments.
I asked the Secretary of State to support Nottinghamshire’s bid for a new elective surgery ward to help speed up elective operations and get the waiting list for these operations down. I will continue to ask the Department for Health to provide this funding.
Finally, as this goes to press the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have met with the Office of Budget Responsibility following the turmoil on the markets over the last few days.
The Bank of England has also taken action to stabilise the bond markets and protect peoples’ pension funds.
I firmly believe that the Government should let people keep more of their hard earned money and create the conditions for strong economic growth, so I support many of the measures announced by the Chancellor last Friday.
This has to be done in a responsible manner however and I hope that lessons from the fallout have been learnt.
I would like to see a credible plan from the Chancellor as to how he plans to reduce the UK debt and pay for many of the measures announced.
I also would like to see an independent forecast from the OBR published as soon as possible. Both of these I hope will help restore market confidence.