Today we were brought the sobering news that nearly 9,000 people in the UK have died from the coronavirus so far. The scale of this tragedy is difficult to comprehend but it is important to remember that behind each death is a person who leaves behind family and friends, and I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to anyone who has been affected by this virus.
At this time of year, we would ordinarily see those celebrating Passover and Easter come together with friends, family and members of the community, but instead, many will be observing these holidays apart from one another for the very first time.
It has been heartening to see communities more united than ever during this crisis, and I am sure it will be in this spirit that many people will be celebrating this weekend. I want to pay tribute once again to all those who are keeping our country going and its people safe. On behalf of all of us, thank you.
This week, I wrote to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to ask what is being done to support care workers, particularly those working in residential care and nursing homes. They are on the front-line but are struggling each day to keep their staff, and those they care for, safe – as has been highlighted by Birmingham Live here. You can also read my letter to Matt Hancock in full, here.
I want to hear from front-line workers in the region about their experiences accessing personal protective equipment (PPE), so that I can better understand where support is currently lacking and where resources need to be distributed when they are made available. If you have experienced problems in accessing PPE at work, please take a moment to complete my survey here.
In other news, and as you will have no doubt already heard, last weekend, Keir Starmer won the election to become the leader of the Labour Party and Angela Rayner the deputy leader with over 56% and 52% of the vote, respectively. Well done to everyone who took part in the election, to the thousands who voted, and a huge congratulations to Keir and Angela. I am looking forward to working with them both to deliver for the people of this country and the world.
Keir has pledged that the Labour Party will engage constructively with the Government in our country's response to the coronavirus, supporting them where it is the right thing to do, but also calling them out and challenging them where we see mistakes or things not happening as quickly as they should. This is not opposition for opposition’s sake, rather, it is the opposition’s duty to ensure that the Government is held to account, especially during this unprecedented time.
I am honoured to join Keir’s Shadow Cabinet as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. I look forward to building on the work of Dan Carden and Kate Osamor in speaking up for the world's most marginalised and vulnerable, and in fighting inequality in all its forms wherever it exists.
In these challenging times faced with the ever-growing threat of coronavirus, I will champion global co-operation and collaboration – something which is needed now more than ever. Completing Labour’s Shadow International Development team is Stephen Doughty, Anna McMorrin and Yasmin Qureshi. There is much work to be done, but with the help of my fantastic team, know that we will do all we can to work towards a better, safer world for us all. You can find the rest of Keir’s appointments here.
As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch if there is anything I can help with, you can find my contact details below. Stay safe and look after one another.
Preet Kaur Gill MP