Politically Speaking with Kim Leadbeater MP: New Covid rules, road safety and looking after the vulnerable
It’s just six months since the people of Batley and Spen put their trust in me in the by-election and it’s certainly been a roller coaster ride so far.
Kim Leadbeater MP writes: The challenges of the job can feel a bit overwhelming at times, but it is a real privilege to represent the place I call home and I will always do my very best to live up to the responsibility of being your MP.
The biggest challenge at the beginning of this week, though, was getting to Westminster at all.
With all the snow and ice I couldn’t get my car out of the drive.
Fortunately one of my trustworthy staff managed to rearrange the school run so he could pick me up and get me to the train just in time.
I hope you were able to enjoy the snow and stay safe.
I’m pleased to say that I’m still managing to spend well over half my week in the constituency, but there is of course always important work to be done in Parliament too.
This week it has been mainly the response to the worrying new Covid variant, Omicron.
We don’t know enough about it yet, but I think it is right to be cautious.
In my view, going back to mask wearing and new travel rules are a small price to pay to avoid the need for much tougher restrictions further down the line, especially over the festive season.
Despite the weather, I have been able to attend some of the brilliant early festivities including Christmas Fayres and lights switch-ons in Cleckheaton, Batley, Birstall, Heckmondwike and Birkenshaw.
These have been really heartwarming and I want to say a huge thank you to all the local groups and volunteers who have put so much effort into the many events across the area this year.
They are at the heart of our communities and the sense of togetherness they create is so important, especially given everything we have been through recently.
Safety on our roads and pavements remains a major priority for me.
You can now help get the message across in Westminster that local people want action by signing my petition to Parliament here: http://www.kim4batleyandspen.com/sign.
When I have enough signatures, I will be able to raise the need for a properly funded national, regional and local strategy for road safety in the House of Commons.
Winter can be a difficult time for many people, especially the most vulnerable in society, and I worry that this winter is going to be tougher than it should be with the huge rise in the cost of living, taxes going up and benefits being cut.
I know that community and support groups are having to work even harder than usual as a result and they deserve all our thanks.
It’s also important that we keep looking out for each other and I hope you’ll be able to keep warm and safe in the weeks to come.
This is my last column before the end of the year so, if it’s not too early I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
From me and all my team – very best wishes.