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David Johnston MP - Newsletter, October 2020

on Mon, 05/10/2020 - 7:03pm

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

Parliament has returned with a bang, with passionate debates about the Internal Market Bill (to ensure free trade in goods and services between the 4 nations of the UK after the transition period with the EU ends), the Overseas Operations Bill (to give greater protection to our serving armed forces personnel/veterans from vexatious legal claims) and debates about the Coronavirus legislation and related restrictions.

A particular highlight of the month for me was visiting the forthcoming Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell with the Prime Minister.

You can now see some of my activities on Instagram as well as Facebook.

As ever, I can be contacted via [email protected] 

Best wishes, 


In the House of Commons

For two-thirds of September I had an unlucky streak with regards to being drawn for questions in the House of Commons. Current proceedings mean you enter online and names are drawn at random to ask questions. For a couple of weeks my name wasn’t being drawn at all – and when I was put on the list for one of the debates it was down at number 73! Earlier in the month I had at least been able to welcome the Climate Assembly report’s focus on fairness to those on lower incomes in the measures it recommends to tackle climate change.

Towards the end of the month, my unlucky streak ended and I asked Gavin Williamson to ensure universities do not neglect employability skills even if they are only delivering online sessions. I highlighted the great fundraising success of Lincoln Callaghan, the 5 year old who cycled 100km for Didcot Town FC, with the Minister for Sport, and raised the challenge for wet-led pubs that don’t serve food – such as the Wheatsheaf in Faringdon – of the new 10pm restrictions with Matt Hancock.

In the constituency

It was great to be at the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre with the Prime Minister. The Centre was scheduled for 2022 but is being accelerated to support the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.
I am still on crutches but have not let it stop me getting around the constituency when not in parliament. I’ve been pleased to visit schools such as John Blandy School and Wallingford School.

I have had enjoyable discussions with local businesses such as Niya Beauty Clinic, LoveBeer brewery, Louise Claire Millinery and Greencore Construction (whose Springfield Meadow development in Southmoor is carbon net-zero in both build and usage).

I have also visited farms such as Kingston Hill Farm, and charities such as the Cedar Community Club in Hinton Waldrist and Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell. Last weekend, I was pleased to attend the superhero bootcamp fundraiser of Play2Give, a charity I am a patron of.

In Parliament

We had Education Committee sessions with Ofqual and Gavin Williamson regarding the exam results problems in August, at which I raised the fact Ofqual seemed to foresee the problems that would come but did not try to avert them, and the fact that some constituents remain unhappy with the grades their schools/colleges gave them. I was also pleased to be put on the School Uniform Bill Committee, a bill that I spoke in favour of in March.

I was happy to support my colleague Alicia Kearns’ campaign to allow women to have their partners with them through all aspects of their pregnancies, which has remained restricted by some hospitals due to Covid.

In the media

I took part in BBC Oxford’s MP phone-in again this week.

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