May began with the State Opening of Parliament which kicks off the new parliamentary session and lays out all the legislation the Government hopes to pass in it.
There was less glitz and glamour than normal, due to coronavirus regulations.
Her Majesty the Queen did a fantastic job, this is the first time she has opened Parliament without the support (in spirit or in person) of her late husband The Duke of Edinburgh.
An ambitious 30 Bills were included in the speech, which sets out the Government’s upcoming legislative agenda.
These include the landmark Environment Bill and the Armed Forces Bill, as well as Bills to reform planning, boost science and technology, grow the economy, and support the victims of crime. I look forward to seeing all the commitments in the Queen’s Speech become law over the remainder of this Parliament.
It’s particularly great to see an agenda which puts the environment and the green economy at the heart of the UK’s recovery from the pandemic. As the Getting to Zero research programme that I am working on with the think tank Onward shows, decarbonising our economy holds huge opportunities as well as challenges for regions like the East Midlands and could generate up to £1.7m jobs.
We already have some fantastic green businesses like GeoPura and Beadamoss leading the way in the fields of hydrogen power and peatland restoration. I was lucky enough to visit both of these businesses in May to learn more about their incredible work.
The week after the Queen’s Speech the Environment Bill passed the remaining stages in the Commons and has gone for further scrutiny in the Lords. In the debate I spoke about the importance of persevering natural habitats and biodiversity both in the UK and abroad, highlighting ground breaking new measures on species abundance here in the UK and on due diligence for companies that use ‘forest risk’ products, like palm oil, in their supply chain.
As we prepare to host COP26 this year, the Government will continue to take the lead in ensuring the UK meets its net zero obligations.
I was delighted that, as I was hosting a webinar on Restoring Global Nature, with Lord Goldsmith, Stanley Johnson and Kate Norgrove, of WWF, news broke that the G7 had committed to the ‘30×30’ initiative, protecting 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030 as well as a range of other measures to tackle deforestation and increase support for clean energy.
The vaccine roll out continues at a tremendous pace. At the time of writing, 7 in 10 UK adults have now been vaccinated.
Everyone currently over the age of 30 (or if you are due to turn 30 before 1 July 2021) can now book to have a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible, please do your bit to protect yourself and others by booking an appointment to get vaccinated.
Vaccination is our main route out of lockdown and the safest way we can get back to enjoying life. Vaccines are safe and have been through all necessary trials and checks before being administered to the public.
I’ve certainly been enjoying the progress we’ve made out of lockdown so far, especially with the 17th May enabling us to enjoy weekends with family and friends and the luxury of venturing indoors at the pub when the heavens open!
Thank you to the Martin’s Arms in Colston Bassett for giving us such a wonderful reunion dinner when my mum and dad came to stay for the first time in six months.
In other health news, I am working with local GPs, Rushcliffe Borough Council and local health authorities to campaign for a new health and community centre in East Leake.
It’s vital that we get modern facilities which have the capacity to serve our communities and where people can go to access lots of services like physiotherapy and social services in one place.
You can find out more about the campaign and sign up to Back our Bid here, sorry about the squawking crows in the video, I took it as a vocal show of support!