Below is the text of the speech made by Gagan Mohindra, the Conservative MP for South West Hertfordshire, in the House of Commons on 11 May 2020.
First, I want to thank all the frontline staff, especially those in South West Hertfordshire. I welcome the Prime Minister’s statement and the further guidance issued today. Across the country and in my constituency, people will welcome this road map and the light at the end of the tunnel. I congratulate all Government Departments for their Herculean efforts to deal with this unprecedented global pandemic. In my view, the continual evolution of national policies based on data is the correct method, and I look forward to the easing of the lockdown restrictions as soon as it is safe.
I want to focus on what the new normal may look like. My party and this Government had already committed to extensive investment in broadband, and this pandemic has shown at first hand how it should now be regarded as an essential utility. I look forward to working with ministerial colleagues to achieving that as soon as practicable.
The ability of the national health service to adapt to a totally different healthcare system using remote diagnosis could fundamentally change how our NHS works. This should be regarded as an opportunity and not a threat. The technological industrial revolution is using the pandemic as a catalyst for significant innovation—something we in this House should all engage in, to seek the opportunities that a global Britain offers.
As you may know, Mr Deputy Speaker, I regard myself as a globalist and an optimist. This pandemic has shown British ingenuity at its best—the world-class teams working to find a vaccine, the two-week construction of the Nightingale hospitals and the national effort made by businesses of whatever size for the greater national good. The community spirit across South West Hertfordshire has reinforced my belief that we will get through this. From the door-to-door deliveries in Croxley Green, to supermarket attendants going that little bit further to help vulnerable customers, to the large food bank donations in Tring, people are pulling together. At Tring School, two staff members, Miss Jones and Miss Corney, have donated their time and efforts to make 1,000 visors for Stoke Mandeville Hospital and 43 other organisations. My one desire is that the care shown for our neighbours and those in need continues into more normal times.
As a Conservative, I have always believed in the safety net, and many in this pandemic are having to rely on it. I will continue to be a critical friend as we progress through this pandemic, but I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work done to date. I ask my right hon. Friend the Paymaster General to discuss any plans she has to use the public’s good will, time and generosity in the form of volunteer co-ordination, and to join me in thanking those in my constituency and around the country who have stepped up to help their fellow countrymen and women in these challenging times.