Watford’s MP on the importance of the Commons ensuring the views of the community are heard

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen unprecedented support from all our communities. I thank my community in Watford for their incredible work in coming together to tackle the challenge. Often, we talk about the concept of the fabric of society, but fabric is made up of woven threads and each individual thread is easily broken. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a community woven together to make a much stronger fight against a real challenge across the country and the world.

Those threads are not just individuals; they are made up of our local communities, charities and pubs. Recently I visited the Partridge pub and the Badger pub in my constituency and chatted to people about the challenges they faced. They had been speaking to their punters, as they call them, as they tried to gather back together in socially distanced ways and start to feel part of a community again. We found that the problem is not just covid or communication, but one that threatens the heart of community. The lockdown created a real challenge for many of us.

All of us in the House—in this fantastic Chamber—have been challenged to look at the world differently, to look at our communities differently and to look at our own lives differently. Our constituents want to see how we can challenge our own beliefs to help others. The Chamber is a light and a beacon not only in this place, but to democracy in this country and perhaps even around the world. When we look at the lockdown measures, we must do so in a way that enables us to talk to our communities and constituencies about what we are trying to achieve.

When we look ahead to the coming weeks and months, we must make the argument in this place for why we need the lockdown measures. We may not always get to vote on them, but we need to be able to create the arguments so that people come with us and do not feel that we are against them.

Community is not just about getting together physically; it is about the spirit of how we work together and achieve things. This place has been a beacon of hope at times, but if we do not challenge ourselves to continue to have conversations here about the difficulties we all face, we risk losing people. The darkness that descended upon us has been broken by beacons of light in our community of fantastic volunteering and amazing work. We must now ensure that this Chamber continues to be a beacon of light—the light at the end of other people’s tunnels, so that they know where we are heading, what we are trying to achieve and why we are doing it for their benefit.