James Heappey weekly column

Unsurprisingly, the Government’s focus over the past few months has been Covid-19. It is of course the main effort and consumes a huge amount of ministerial time but there is still lots going on in Government both nationally and locally.

This week, the Agriculture Bill had its third reading and the Immigration Bill passed the first stage in Parliament. These are both significant for our country and – notably - for the first time in 50 years, the UK will set its own tariffs, paving the way for our trading after the Brexit transition period.

This – and the points-based immigration system – would in normal times be dominating the news.

I am pleased to see Brexit trade deal negotiations are continuing and it has been made clear that the implementation period will not be extended. I very much believe that we should reach the end of the implementation period with a deal in place, but I am also clear we will not be held hostage by the EU seeking to slow down the process.

The General Election was about many things, but the biggest promise was to get Brexit done and it is important for the people who voted for that proposition in such large numbers, that the Government continues to work hard to deliver just that.

Meanwhile, locally there are non-Covid issues that I continue to work on as well as the vast amount of Covid related correspondence.

This week, I met with Christopher Heaton-Harris who is the railway minister to talk about our hope to restore Shepton Mallet Railway Station which is an important project for the constituency.

Covid-19 is still, of course, the biggest thing in my mailbag now and supporting individuals and businesses through this challenging time is my primary focus. Rest assured, my team and I are working on this, but it is also important that Parliament continues to function.