Boris Johnson's plans are exciting | Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

This is my 10th year as a Member of Parliament.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 5:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 10:11 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech during a visit to Exeter College Construction Centre, Exeter, in which he made a pledge to ensure there was "life-long" skills retraining opportunities after the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the "shortcomings" of the UK's educational system. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 29, 2020. See PA story POLITICS Coronavirus PM. Photo credit should read: Finnbarr Webster/PA Wire

On the surface, it has been a September much like the others – back to school, back to Westminster, back to the fiery showdowns in the Commons and back to lots of late-night votes. Thanks to said votes, this month I even managed to achieve an historic (and seemingly impossible) task of answering two Adjournment Debates in one day as DCMS Minister.

In so many other ways, however, this September has been utterly different from all the others. Covid-19 measures mean the House of Commons chamber remains a shadow of the bear-pit it once was, most meetings are still held virtually, and Parliament remains largely closed to visitors.

Parliament is functioning, yet still a long way from firing on all cylinders.

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As cases rise across the country and our local area, the prime minister has implemented the straightforward rule of six.

To support this, the NHS Test and Trace app launched last month. I am absolutely delighted that it has become the fastest downloaded app in British history.

I know from my email inbox that not everyone is happy with these steps. Of course, no government would ever want to bring in social restrictions like this, which impact our economy and freedoms so significantly, unless the implications of the alternative were truly dire.

To meet the challenges ahead, the chancellor last month unveiled the Winter Economy Plan – including a new Jobs Support Scheme and the extension of several unprecedented financial measures. The PM announced a major expansion of post-18 education and training to prepare workers for a post-Covid economy – which is fantastic news for our local area.

Without doubt, we face some difficult months ahead as winter approaches.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, with the trials of vaccines, treatments and faster testing all progressing well. However, in the meantime we all need to do our bit, to slow the spread of the virus and save lives.