Yesterday, I had the opportunity to question the Prime Minister at a special session in Parliament of the Chairs of Select Committees, known as the Liaison Committee.
I raised the Petitions Committee report on supporting new parents during Covid 19. Our Committee made some very sensible recommendations, based on evidence, to improve the help on offer to new parents. Despite previously pledging to look at the report, the Prime Minister clearly hadn’t and the Government rejected almost all of our suggestions.
When it’s easier for an expectant father to go to the pub or to go grouse shooting than it is to attend his own baby’s growth scans, you know something is wrong with the government’s priorities. I pressed the Prime Minister to take a look again and to reconsider and I will be following up on his commitment to do so.
I also pressed the government on the rule of six and the pressures this is putting on families who rely on informal childcare with grandparents or friends in order to be able to go to work. In Scotland and Wales, children under the age of 11 are exempt and it should be the same in England.
Another huge problem I know many are facing is being able to access a Covid test. Until a vaccine is available, an effective test, trace and isolate regime is critical to the safe easing from lockdown. If people cannot get tests when they believe they may have symptoms, or routine testing to be able to detect the virus in those not displaying symptoms, there is simply no track and isolate and I fear this virus will spread quickly again. I urged the Prime Minister to get a handle on this before cases spiral out of control, costing jobs, and lives.
You can watch my section with the Prime Minister in the video below: