August 2021 Newsletter from John Howell MP for Henley

As we learn to live with COVID19 some of life’s most important opportunities and pleasures are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination. This is true in relation to both activities at home and abroad. Already other countries have a requirement that people must have had two doses of a vaccine as a condition of quarantine free travel. At home there are activities in crowded venues that people are keen to get back to. Being able to go to a nightclub is one that has been very much in the media spotlight.

I know that some people question why others are so keen to go to such venues, but I appreciate that those who enjoy clubbing and have been denied the opportunity for so long want to do so. It is generally younger people who like to go to such places, and I think that they have suffered greatly with lockdown and restrictions. I do not want to see nightclubs and other venues closed again but it does means that measures need to be in place to help ensure that they are as safe as possible. A NHS Covid Pass which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity – as a means of entry is therefore sensible. I fully appreciate concerns being raised over this being reduced to proof of vaccination and expect that this particular debate will be an important one in coming weeks. Similarly I appreciate concern at extending the vaccination to younger people especially when it was previously not advised. However research into vaccines is ongoing and all new data is used to inform the Government on various aspects of immunisation strategy.

Another key issue is of course climate change and with COP26 drawing ever closer our minds are rightly drawn to focus on this. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just published leaves us in no doubt of the urgency of this. As Alok Sharma, the government’s climate coordinator said the report is a stark warning about the need to cut emissions. I agree that this is a priority and am pleased that the UK was the first country in the G7 to legislate to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. I share the desire to get to net zero sooner and Government has to ensure that what is put into regulation is achievable for everyone. It has already announced the interim target of reducing emissions by 68 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030. This target is faster than any other major economy. A cross-community consensus will be required to ensure the UK achieves a transition that works for all. As well as Government measures on this we all need to do what we can to make our own contribution by makes what changes we can to our own lifestyles.

Although Parliament is currently in recess my office remains open. If you have an issue that you would like to raise with me, if possible, please email me at john.howell.mp@parliament.uk. If you cannot email you can still write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1 0AA or PO Box 84, Watlington, OX49 5XD.