Welcome to my May newsletter and apologies for its delay.
Having last month taken the next step in the Prime Minister's roadmap to reduced COVID-19 restrictions, it has been amazing to see so many of our excellent hospitality businesses reopen their indoor spaces to customers. I know how tough the past year has been for our hospitality sector, so I have been making an extra effort to visit as many of our local pubs, restaurants and cafes as I can to support their reopening. It has been useful to hear first-hand from business owners about how essential Government support has been, and I have been feeding back concerns to Ministers about issues raised.
As you will know, since the beginning of the year I have been making a strong case for a Nightingale Court in Kent to be created and opened. I have met with the Justice Minister, Chris Philp MP, alongside our excellent Police and Crime Commission Matthew Scott to discuss the proposals, as well as raising the case on the floor of the House of Commons. Last week we heard the excellent news that our campaign had been successful and the court, situated at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel is now operational. The court will carry out Crown Court work and provide an additional two hearing rooms on top of the current operational capability helping to reduce delays to cases, and deliver speedier justice for victims. This will also help reduce the drop off in cases, something that is a particular problem for domestic violence or sexual assault. Victims deserve swift justice so I am delighted that we now have the resources in place here in Kent to tackle the backlog.
Finally, I know we are all hopeful that we will be able to take the next step in the Prime Minister's roadmap later this month. Of course, any decision must be led by the data but I am following this very closely and will be sure to update you on my Facebook page as soon as a decision has been reached.
As ever, if I can help or support you please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office on firstname.lastname@example.org.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley
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