It has been said time and again, but is no less true, that 2020 has been an
immensely challenging year for Birmingham, Edgbaston and the country. The
coronavirus pandemic up-ended many of our hopes and ambitions for this
year, and instead delivered financial hardship, difficult months apart from
loved ones, and grief and loss for far too many people.
In the face of enormous adversity however, I have been buoyed to see how
our community has pulled together in these extraordinary times — how
businesses have provided for their staff and community while adapting to
ever-changing trading conditions and public health guidance to keep us
safe; volunteers have been knocking on doors to check in on their
neighbours and make sure they have the supplies they need; and across our
public services, key workers have gone to extraordinary lengths to support
us in our hour of need.
Whether you have been one of those people, or have simply done your bit by
following public health guidance, I want to say thank you. Your choice to
give up the last nine months of your regular life being careful and
socially distancing could very well be the reason someone else is alive
As ever, it has been a privilege to serve as the Member of Parliament for
Birmingham, Edgbaston, and especially in such trying times. Since March,
the volume of casework that my office has received has more than doubled,
and at a time when the pace and scale of change in government policy in
response to the pandemic (not to mention Brexit) has been like nothing
we’ve seen before.
In April, I was honoured to be promoted by our new party leader Keir
Starmer to become Labour’s Shadow Secretary for International
Development; to be elected Chair of the Co-op Party Parliamentary Group in
November; and earlier this month to win MP of the Year from the Patchwork
But beyond the whirlwind in Westminster, it has been some of the
constituency work with our community that has given me the greatest
To round off 2020, I wanted to give you a run-down of some of the things I
have been working on this year.
Going forward, I am hopeful that 2021 can be a brighter (and less
‘unprecedented’) year for us all. With the wide rollout of a vaccine on
the horizon, we can begin to cautiously look forward to returning to
something more resembling our normal lives. Make no mistake, we are not
over the hill yet, but I am optimistic about some of the things we might do
and achieve next year.
As ever, I will be available at [email protected] over the
Christmas break, although I will be winding down on non-urgent casework
And otherwise, it remains for me to wish each and every one of you a
restful and love-filled Christmas break, and a happy New Year.