JUNE 2021: News from your local MP Jack Lopresti
LAST month, we voted in the largest set of elections outside a general election since the 1950s.
Here in Downend, we saw the election of an excellent new local councillor, Liz Brennan.
Having had the chance to get her feet under the table, Liz is already working hard for residents. Even before she was elected, Liz successfully campaigned for more funding for Downend High Street and free swimming for pregnant women in our leisure centres.
Liz has also made an impact on the national stage, campaigning for new medicines for people living with cystic fibrosis, after her six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with the condition.
I know that Liz is keen to help and serve, so I encourage you to get in touch with her if there’s anything at all that she can assist you with.
I am also absolutely delighted to see the election of our new Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, Mark Shelford. Mark is a former soldier, serving for 32 years in the army. Public service is second nature to him, as is law and order, having spent time working with forces around the world. He has also started helping our police officers and making sure that they have the tools that they need to do their jobs effectively.
The role of the PCC is a vital one. As an elected representative, they are accountable to the people in their force area to oversee how crime is tackled and how their local police force is run and managed. Their goal is to reduce crime and ensure that the police force is running effectively.
This is why I campaigned for Mark, and believe he is the right man for the job. Alongside his time in the Army, Mark served for many years as the deputy leader of Bath and North East Somerset and sat on the Police and Crime Panel. He knows how to effect change, taking a straightforward approach to solving the problems that come up in Avon and Somerset.
In the past few months, we have seen unacceptable scenes of disorder on some of our streets, as people have engaged in violent protests and clashes with the police. Peaceful protest is at the cornerstone of our democracy, but it will never be acceptable for protests to descend into violence, putting the lives of police officers and protesters at risk.
Mark understands these challenges and will be working with the police to both stop these scenes from being repeated and ensuring that the police have the resources they need to deal with them should they arise.
I have already struck up an excellent working relationship with Mark after many months on the campaign trail. I know how important it is that we all work cooperatively, at every level of politics. Having a strong PCC like Mark and hard-working councillors like Liz, who can work with me and the Government for the betterment of our area, will be a huge advantage for all the communities that we collectively serve and represent.