I was pleased to hold my first adjournment debate, where a backbench MP can raise any issue and require a minister to respond, in the House of Commons recently. My subject was safety and littering on the A420 and the A34 and I laid out in detail the safety problems we know exist on both roads. In the last 6 years there have been 1057 accidents on the total stretch of the A420 and 2593 on the A34; these are just the ones that involved injury to people – it doesn’t include the accidents involving vehicle damage alone. I also wanted to raise litter issues as I regularly receive complaints about that, too. I will now sit down with the relevant minister to discuss how to improve both matters on both roads.
I took the opportunity to get in yet another plug for my bid for Grove Station, which the ministers at the Department are very used to be raising! I was pleased to hear there should be a decision soon about whether we will get money to explore how it could reopen. You can watch the debate on my Facebook page. In other transport news, the Government has just given the County another £3 million for cycle paths and footpaths.
Like I’m sure most of you, I did not want to be in another lockdown now. As some of you will know, the Oxfordshire Conservative MPs had not supported the request of Council Leaders for us to go into Tier 2 in October as we felt it was premature and would have a detrimental effect on mental health, other health conditions and on our local businesses. The cases in Oxfordshire remain much lower than in other parts of the country and I hoping this will be the final lockdown and we can re-emerge into Tier 1, rather than Tier 2, but as always it will be the analysis of the Chief Medical Officer and Joint Biosecurity Centre that is crucial here.
The thoughts of all of us are of course on whether we will get to see our families in the way we like to at Christmas. I know the Prime Minister and the rest of the Government are keen that we will get to and I am hopeful this will be the case. The Government has set a window for university students to return home in time and is currently exploring what can safely be allowed. I think this may be my last message before it, so Merry Christmas when it arrives.