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David Johnston MP - Newsletter, May 2021

on Thu, 06/05/2021 - 3:23pm

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

I obtained the cross-party support I needed to be able to hold a debate in parliament on the performance of Royal Mail, it is now just a question of when the debate can be scheduled alongside the others that have to take place. On the 1st July I will be hosting a pre-COP26 Climate Summit for constituents to attend – please see details below.

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

Best wishes, 


In the House of Commons

A slightly less lucky month for House of Commons appearances – I was not drawn as often as usual in the ballots and I was No 135 to speak in the tributes to Prince Philip but we only got as far as No 131! Before I secured the debate on Royal Mail, I raised the issues constituents have been having again. I took another chance to plug Grove Station – you’ll see the minister acknowledges they’ve heard from me about this before! – and I plugged 2 local primary schools from which children have sent me letters about climate change, in a question about COP26.

The Covid situation in India is awful. The UK was the first to provide equipment, but I asked the Foreign Office Minister if we would provide logistical advice from the NHS and others about how to control the spread and get the vaccine to people quickly. I also asked a question on the day the Commonwealth War Graves Commission published its sobering report about the failure to adequately commemorate everyone who died in World War 1.

In Parliament

We held another series of accountability hearings this month with 3 of the DfE ministers – Michelle Donelan, Nick Gibb and Baroness Berridge. We also continued our inquiry into prison education and had a session with the Regional Schools Commissioners, which came after a local school raised an issue about them with me.

I secured the names necessary from across the House of Commons in order to hold a 90-minute debate in parliament on the performance of Royal Mail. There is not a date yet but I will be including the complaints that I have received from many of you these past 6 months.

I met with Sutton Courtenay Primary School over Zoom as part of The Politics Project. I also took part in a Q&A with Stockham Primary School and GEMS Didcot Primary, as part of Parliament's Education Service outreach programme.

In the constituency

I attended a poignant service for Prince Philip at the Parish Church of St Augustine of Canterbury in East Hendred. I was pleased that the Home Secretary came to Great Western Park, where we heard from residents about the problems they’ve been having with unauthorised traveller camps, something I have raised in parliament on more than 1 occasion.

I have continued to meet organisations via Zoom – including the Aston Tirrold and Aston Upthorpe Parish Council – but overall it has been great to be able to physically visit more places. This has included charities like Sylva Foundation and the Earth Trust in Little Wittenham…

…pubs and hospitality venues, including the Bear Inn in North Moreton, the Bear in Wantage, the Volunteer Inn in Grove, the Fish in Sutton Courtenay, the Greyhound Inn in Letcombe Regis, the Ladygrove and the Harwellian…

…and of course plenty of shops and the odd hairdresser, including the Toy Planet, the Madhatter Bookshop, Vogue Hair and Beauty and Childrey Stores.

I also enjoyed a visit to the National Trust property, the Buscot and Coleshill Estates.

On the 1st July I will be hosting a pre-COP26 climate summit, which will feature a range of local and national experts giving talks to debate some of the key issues we need to tackle. I will then send the ideas generated to Alok Sharma, President of COP26. Confirmed speakers include the CEO of the Committee on Climate Change, Greencore Construction, Westmill Wind and Solar Farm and Power for People, the organisation behind the Local Electricity Bill that I am a co-sponsor of.

In the media

I wrote a piece for the Times on why we should let charities use empty office to train young people.

My fortnightly columns for the Herald can be read <here> (although they are currently suspended by the paper due to the local elections).