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David Johnston MP - Newsletter, February 2021

on Fri, 29/01/2021 - 6:35pm

I hope you, your friends and your family continue to be safe and well.

A lot of people are finding this lockdown the worst so far and it’s not difficult to understand why. We don’t yet know when it will be lifted and the weather is considerably colder than it was during the first lockdown – and I am particularly concerned that all of our children are not back in school.

But the vaccine is being administered at a very impressive rate both nationally and within Oxfordshire and so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

There has also been other good news here and there, like Andy Baker of Play2Give (which I am a patron of) being given an MBE – congratulations again to him.

As ever, if I can help you with anything then do contact me via [email protected]

Best wishes, 


In the House of Commons

We’re largely back to virtual parliament, although some activities like bill committees (one of which I was on this month) can’t be done virtually and so I have been in the House of Commons occasionally.

After local health leaders raised with me the lower take-up of the vaccine amongst those from ethnic minorities, I raised it with the minister in parliament. I spoke in the debate about FSM and access to remote education and asked a question about the backlog of serious criminal cases.

I took another opportunity to highlight the work of Sofea in a question to the DWP Secretary of State and also raised 2 constituent cases – one where the constituent is a victim of domestic abuse and the other where he has had tenants take advantage of the temporary ban on evictions.

In Parliament

Amongst other meetings of the Education Committee, we had an accountability hearing with Gavin Williamson about the decision to close schools again and a session with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and others to understand the scientific basis behind the decision.

I was appointed to the Telecommunications (Security) Bill Committee which scrutinised the bill to remove Huawei from our networks and will see £250 million invested to increase the number of suppliers of telecoms equipment.

As a supporter of my colleague Philip Dunne’s Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill I was delighted that the Government has said it will work with him to achieve the bill’s aims to stop untreated sewage from being released into our waters. I was also pleased to chair a session supported by Kellogg’s looking at the vital role of breakfast clubs in schools.

In the constituency

I have postponed most visits or moved appointments to Zoom. I have however volunteered a couple of times with the Ray Collins Trust in Wantage to support the vaccination effort of patients from the Newbury Street and Church Street practices at Mably Way. I was also pleased to drop by the Old Farm Shop at Milton Hill, where Caroline and co have supported the local community throughout the pandemic.

In the media

I took part in an MP Surgery call-in with BBC Oxford.

I wrote a piece for the Spectator on why the Government is right to replace the Erasmus scheme with the Turing Scheme which can be read <here>.

My fortnightly columns for the Herald can also be read <here>.

Following my Adjournment debate on the A34/A420, I was interviewed by ITV Meridian as part of a longer piece they did on the A34 issues, which you can watch <here>.