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David Johnston MP - Newsletter, May 2020

on Mon, 11/05/2020 - 5:42pm

Welcome to the first edition of my newsletter, which will be one of the ways I update you about my work as your representative. I would like to be writing to you in happier times but I hope that you and your loved ones are all safe and well.  

It has been a whirlwind since becoming an MP in mid-December and what follows is some of the highlights of my activity since that period, both in parliament and in the constituency. 

In February, my partner and I found a home in the Didcot area and we are very much enjoying living here, despite the fact we are currently doing so during lockdown. Prior to lockdown I had been getting round as many of our businesses, charities and community groups as I could and I look forward to being able to continue this when I can – as well as to resume fortnightly surgeries. 

I’m pleased that with the help of my staff we’ve been able to help over 2,100 constituents so far with challenges they’ve been facing. As ever, I can be contacted via [email protected] 

Best wishes, 

David 

NB: As this is my first newsletter I’ve chosen not to make it COVID-19 focussed even though most of what I am helping constituents with every day during this period are issues relating to the virus. That said, you’ll find an information section full of sources of support regarding the virus on my website here:-


In the House of Commons

I got my maiden speech out of the way in January (!), speaking on education during the Queen’s Speech debate. My next contribution in the Chamber was during Business Questions, when I was again banging the drum to re-open Grove Station, having already been making the case with ministers privately.

Since that time, my contributions have included praising the Government’s investment in a new Natural History Museum site at Harwell Campus; supporting a bill that will lower the cost of school uniform for families on modest incomes; and speaking in favour of the Domestic Abuse Bill which will, amongst other things, prevent abusers being able to cross-examine their victims in court.

In recent days, via ‘virtual parliament’, I have pushed Robert Jenrick to make sure supermarkets are giving online delivery slots to constituents who are shielding and asked Matt Hancock to clarify the guidance to the over 70s, after media reports suggested they had to stay in their homes for a considerable period of time.


In Parliament

I have become a member of the Education Committee and we have recently been having ‘accountability hearings’ with key figures such as Gavin Williamson and the Head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, pushing them both to do what they can to ensure the most disadvantaged young people do fall further behind. I was asked to be the Conservative Co-Chair of the Social Mobility All-Party Parliamentary Group and I was pleased to join the Conservative Environment Network.

One of the enjoyable things to do whilst in parliament is meet individuals or groups from the constituency. It was fun to meet pupils from Wallingford School and take their sharp questions on their visit to Parliament and a privilege to present Andy Rowe with his Point of Light Award from the Prime Minister.


In the constituency

Prior to lockdown, I enjoyed meeting a wide range of individuals, groups and employers across the constituency. My visits included Didcot Power Station, Harwell Campus, JISC, Be Free Young Carers, Didcot Town FC, Wantage Independent Advice Centre, Didcot Railway Centre, Ipsen and UKAEA. I was pleased to officially open Tokamak Energy’s new building and to open Wantage Reformer Pilates, a new local business

In March I had a productive meeting with a group of parish council representatives about issues with the A420 and when parliament resumes fully I will apply for an adjournment debate to highlight issues on this and the A34.

Although I can’t continue visits at this time, I have been trying to volunteer when I can with the charities and community groups that are doing such great work to help local residents during this period, including Sofea and the Ray Collins Charitable Trust. Special mentions to the Great Western Park Residents Association, Harwell Helpers, Wallingford 2020 and Stanford 2020 – but there are too many to mention here. Click here for just how many and get in touch if you can help them. 

I was delighted to be asked to become a patron for both the Play2Give and Secret Santa 365 charities and will be doing what I can to support them both.


In the media

I hope you enjoyed reading this first newsletter. Do get in touch ([email protected]) with any suggestions of what you’d like to see in future issues.