On Monday 28th September, Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, spoke in the General Debate on COVID-19 as he, amongst other things, called for more Parliamentary scrutiny of decisions made and greater clarity on flu jabs and Coronavirus testing. Sir David also asked for more Governmental support for those in the events industry, the self-employed, limited company directors and football clubs.
Sir David said “What I want to hear about is a holistic approach from the Government. I want a plan from No. 10 Downing Street and some direction. I say this to many colleagues who have just been elected. I thought I heard one or two say earlier that in war we do not need to scrutinise a Government, but that is not what happened. Judging by their emails, I feel that our constituents are getting very restless with the approach. Members of Parliament are getting restless with this approach, too. Why did we stand as Members of Parliament? We did it so that we could come here and scrutinise what the Government are doing, never mind whether we sit on the Government or Opposition Benches. This is not a real Parliament at the moment. It gives a false sense. We need only look around the Chamber to see that this is not as it should be. I say to the Government, not gently but robustly, that we need a much clearer plan.
It was very disappointing that in the recent World Health Organisation meeting, two of the biggest countries would not sign up to anything. I want the world to give us some leadership on this. Of course, three of the big leaders in my early years here really got the other people onside, to work together. We need the whole world to join us and come up with a solution.
I want answers on flu jabs and the events industry. Why do we have the 10 pm curfew? I do not understand it. I am told that we do not have testing in our residential schools and foster homes. Limited company directors do not seem to be getting any help. The support for the self-employed has dropped to 20%. On weddings, I have two daughters getting married this year.
Unless we get some help soon, the beloved Southend United, which is going to be part of the moment when we become a city, are going to be humiliated and we will drop out of the league completely. So I say to the Minister, who has 60-odd speeches to respond to in her 10 minutes, that if she could get her wonderful officials to draft responses, I shall do a little chase-up letter. The point has come when we need proper scrutiny of these momentous decisions that we are taking in the name of our constituents”.