The Prime Minister has set out the Government’s new three-tiered system of local Covid alert levels for England. Although we have seen an increase in cases in Dorset recently, it is low compared to the national situation, and West Dorset is therefore in the lowest ‘medium’ tier.

On Wednesday evening I spoke in the House of Commons on Public Health and Coronavirus Regulations and, while acknowledging the difficult line the Government must tread between public health, safety and the economy, I made it clear to the Minister that closing pubs and restaurants at 10pm is deeply damaging to our local economy, especially for our village pubs and breweries, given the comparatively low number of cases we have here.

On Monday evening I joined the debate on the Lords' amendments to the Agriculture Bill in Parliament. This coincided with Channel 4’s report on US food standards, with a good deal of scaremongering about implications for British milk and bread. During the programme, the head of the National Farmers Union (NFU) said that a trade deal with the USA will ‘decimate British agriculture’, while completely omitting the benefits to our economy of exporting British beef to America, as well as our trading relationships with other nations. I believe the NFU has lost touch on this. Our food laws already prohibit chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-injected beef but it makes good headlines to claim otherwise.

This week the Culture Secretary announced unprecedented support for jobs and culture in West Dorset with a £670k investment through the Culture Recovery Fund. I’m very pleased that Bridport Museum Trust has been awarded £50,000 to enable it to continue telling the story of the town’s history. Government is listening to our needs here, with eight organisations including Dorchester Arts, Mapperton House, Dorset County Museum, The Shire Hall in Dorchester, and Lyme Regis Museum, also set to benefit.