We invite members to write to the Press and/or their MP. Can you send a copy to nnlabour@gmail.com and we will publish them here? Keep them coming!

18th April 2020
Dear Mr. Baker

I ask you, as a matter of the utmost importance, to require the Government to treat the hospice, residential care and nursing home sectors, alongside home-based care services, with the same urgency as the NHS in the provision of PPE and testing. Organisations such as Sue Ryder are an indispensable part of the health service, providing care, palliative and otherwise, for patients through its hospices, neurological centres and community services, who otherwise would require hospital beds. Sue Ryder is on the brink of running out of PPE. It is unforgiveable that people giving dangerous and stressful service should be asked to put their own and their families’ health and lives at risk. Neither the staff, nor the general public is remotely impressed by the Government’s recitation of the number of PPE items available when the only thing that matters is getting those items, of the right type and in the correct numbers at the right time to where it is needed as a matter of life and death. Already, the death toll of health and care workers is tragically high, with quite possibly by now, the premature deaths in their hundreds, if not thousands, of care and nursing home residents who are especially vulnerable in settings where they are gathered in close proximity. In a constituency with the highest elderly demographic in the country, you must be aware that we cannot afford the mass mental and emotional suffering caused by the sudden unexpected bereavements occurring in unnatural circumstances and with no opportunity for the usual healing comfort of gathering together to remember and celebrate the life of a family member or friend.
I appreciate that the Government is in unprecedented circumstances, but it lacked foresight and urgency. The impression now is of being hide-bound and unimaginative in its efforts to get out the essential equipment with which those at the front line are to be both protected and enabled to maximise the chances of recovery for their patients. There are offers being made to produce additional supplies, especially of PPE equipment, by firms and even community groups, throughout the country, who are not being utilised – it smacks of incompetence. Now is the time, when days and hours matter, for specifications to be issued, local initiatives to be sanctioned and local distribution systems put into operation. This crisis is not going to go away any time soon : it will decline in scale, but plans need to be put into being for the long term.
Finally, the Government must recognise the crucial contribution of the voluntary sector. Sue Ryder is one example – such organisations are in danger of collapse because of the sudden loss of the opportunity to raise funds from the general public on the usual scale and by the usual methods. Just as the Government has rightly provided funds for businesses to survive, it should make significant grant funding immediately available to the voluntary sector where it is, in any way, contributing to the current effort to combat Covid 19.

Yours sincerely,
Mollie Whitworth

MANDY MCKENNA FROM BANNINGHAM

Published in both EDP 15/5/20 and NNorfolk News week of 21st May 2020.

The immigration surcharge has gone for NHS staff but sadly not for other migrant workers like the courier referred to here. It took quite a fight which shows public pressure can make a difference.

21st May 2020
Dear EDP/North Norfolk News,
Two weeks ago, I received an invitation to participate in an NHS/Imperial College pilot study for COVID 19 home testing equipment. As a concerned citizen I was pleased to assist and was sent the equipment. A date and time was given for collection; the required samples needed to be produced shortly before the courier’s arrival.
On the Sunday following, right on time, the courier arrived. It transpired that he had 34 samples to collect in Norfolk that day and had set off at 0730 from Norwich. He was ready with his labelling and a refrigerated box for all the sample packages. We only had the briefest conversation but it was evident that he was of Eastern European origin.
I would welcome our Conservative MP’s comments on the way that our immigrant community have helped us during this crisis. I would invite to reflect on the opportunistic xenophobia his party expressed at the last election and indicate whether he can still support Immigration Health Surcharge that his party is proposing.
Yours faithfully, Martyn Sloman

Dominic Cummings breaking lockdown

Dear Duncan,

I write to you to express my concern with the current situation regarding Dominic Cummings breaking the lockdown rules and guidance. The current justification that he needed child care is bizarre at the least, bearing in mind he has family living in London and, at its worst, an insult to all of those of us who for the past 9 weeks have followed the Government’s own rules and guidance to protect the NHS and Save Lives!

Concerning is the apparent loss of trust the government has from the public who have taken to social media in their droves, and may well lead to them ignoring any future guidance – we can’t surely believe a man who positioned himself as the People’s PM, is siding with a member of the elite and suggesting it’s one rule for us and another for them?

Worse still is the apparent approval people will now have for travelling to their relatives or second homes – we sent out an early plea to the Government from North Norfolk to ensure people didn’t travel to their second homes to ensure we didn’t encourage the spread from London to NN, where we have a very large elderly population and a low incidence of Covid 19. This government appear to have no respect for those other than themselves – the plebs clearly don’t matter – don’t they realise there were dozens of families in Cummings position and they managed without help from relatives just as the government had instructed.

I urge you to liaise with your colleagues for the greater good of those of us in NN who don’t want people coming here from areas of higher incidence believing its okay. Mr Cummings is an unelected official who is putting himself and his family before other members of the public, disregarding the PMs own advice and ignoring the rules he was involved in developing – he must step down for the credibility of the Government and PM.

Regards, a very concerned voter

Fiona Hall

Reply
From: duncan@duncanbaker.org.uk
Subject: Re: Dominic Cummings breaking lockdown (Case Ref: DB1533)
Date: 25 May 2020 at 21:01:19 BST
To: fionaannehall@icloud.com

Dear Fiona Hall

Thank you for your email.

Firstly, I fully appreciate and understand the anger you are feeling which I know is shared by many who have been in touch with me. I have watched the news story surrounding Dominic Cummings unfold since Friday night and feel incredibly disappointed by the whole situation. This issue goes beyond politics: it is about the right behaviour and standards I believe in – the standards I hope I have demonstrated since being elected to serve to as your MP. Whether you voted for me or not this issue, quite simply, is about what is right and what is wrong.

My initial impression upon hearing the story on Friday has not changed. From the outset, I have made my deep dissatisfaction clear – through the appropriate channels – to the government. That is the correct way to voice my concerns, and I will continue to do so.

Dominic Cummings has explained his actions, and I am sure we can all sympathise with the desire of a father and husband to keep his sick family safe. Further, Durham Police has now confirmed no offences were committed, and that they do not intend to take any further action.

However, Dominic Cummings is a high-profile public figure. He may not be an MP but, given his role and profile, it is absolutely vital he leads by example. In my view, he broke the spirit – if not the letter – of the guidance designed to limit the spread of coronavirus. He should now have the courage to admit his judgement was questionable and should be reprimanded. It is clear that he has undermined the whole essence of the government’s key “Stay at Home” messaging. Given my strong stance imploring people not to visit their second homes here in North Norfolk, you can imagine how strongly I feel about this situation.

I listened to his press conference and respect that he may well have had the best of intentions in mind for his family. But, for me, a person with a significant part in shaping the rules we have been following has an absolute duty to adhere to them.

I take my role as your MP very seriously and believe it is absolutely vital for those in the public eye to act appropriately. So many of us have diligently followed the rules to the absolute letter, making huge sacrifices. In my view, that is what Dominic Cummings should also have done.

This story has become a distraction from the otherwise exemplary response by the government and by all of us here in North Norfolk. I will continue to represent your views – and those of many other constituents who have contacted me about this – in the days and weeks to come.

My best wishes and I hope you are keeping safe and well at this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Duncan Baker MP
Member of Parliament for North Norfolk

Tudor House | Grammar School Road |

Another letter and a reply from our MP to compare to others.

Dear Mr Baker,
I understand that you are on a list of Conservative MP s who have called for Mr Cummings to resign. If that is the case, I applaud you and your fellow MP s for your courage and integrity to do the right thing in the face of huge pressure on you.
My family and I are even more appalled, if that is possible, at Mr Johnson’s performance at the meeting of the Select Committee yesterday. For Mr Hancock to tell us, without a trace of irony or self effacement, that we all have to do our civic duty makes me actually feel physically sick.
If I hear one more time the exhortation ” to move “, I shall scream.
What absolute humbug!
How dare he, how dare he, how dare he!
We have been fed lies, deceit, cover up and double standards to such an extent that is breathtaking in modern political history.
We have all been treated like fools.
There is not a shred of Government authority remaining to deliver a strategy to protect us.
Mr Johnson has personally put the safety and health of myself and my family and friends …all of us…at great risk.
It is akin to Mrs Thatcher s Poll Tax moment but the huge difference is that this is about our lives and it is deeply personal.
Please continue to keep the pressure on the Government to remove Mr Cummings. It is the only way to start to restore confidence and trust in dealing with the challenges we all face.
Looking forward to your response

Yours sincerely
B. Marfleet

On 25 May 2020 21:27, duncan@duncanbaker.org.uk wrote:
Dear Mr Marfleet
Thank you for your email.
Firstly, I fully appreciate and understand the anger you are feeling which I know is shared by many who have been in touch with me. I have watched the news story surrounding Dominic Cummings unfold since Friday night and feel incredibly disappointed by the whole situation. This issue goes beyond politics: it is about the right behaviour and standards I believe in – the standards I hope I have demonstrated since being elected to serve to as your MP. Whether you voted for me or not this issue, quite simply, is about what is right and what is wrong.

My initial impression upon hearing the story on Friday has not changed. From the outset, I have made my deep dissatisfaction clear – through the appropriate channels – to the government. That is the correct way to voice my concerns, and I will continue to do so.

Dominic Cummings has explained his actions, and I am sure we can all sympathise with the desire of a father and husband to keep his sick family safe. Further, Durham Police has now confirmed no offences were committed, and that they do not intend to take any further action.

However, Dominic Cummings is a high-profile public figure. He may not be an MP but, given his role and profile, it is absolutely vital he leads by example. In my view, he broke the spirit – if not the letter – of the guidance designed to limit the spread of coronavirus. He should now have the courage to admit his judgement was questionable and should be reprimanded. It is clear that he has undermined the whole essence of the government’s key “Stay at Home” messaging. Given my strong stance imploring people not to visit their second homes here in North Norfolk, you can imagine how strongly I feel about this situation.

I listened to his press conference and respect that he may well have had the best of intentions in mind for his family. But, for me, a person with a significant part in shaping the rules we have been following has an absolute duty to adhere to them.

I take my role as your MP very seriously and believe it is absolutely vital for those in the public eye to act appropriately. So many of us have diligently followed the rules to the absolute letter, making huge sacrifices. In my view, that is what Dominic Cummings should also have done.

This story has become a distraction from the otherwise exemplary response by the government and by all of us here in North Norfolk. I will continue to represent your views – and those of many other constituents who have contacted me about this – in the days and weeks to come.

My best wishes and I hope you are keeping safe and well at this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Duncan Baker MP
Member of Parliament for North Norfolk

Tudor House | Grammar School Road | North Walsham | NR28 9JH

Complaint Cummings Johnson

Dear Mr Baker,
I and my husband are Residents in your constituency and would like to register our feelings regarding the government’s course of action over Dominic Cummings’s breach of lockdown rules.
Over the last few days, there has been a lot of discussion in the media but I feel that much of the commentary has missed the point.

Regardless of his justification, Dominic Cummings did not act within the lockdown rules set out by the government. His detailed statement yesterday left journalists and members of the public with many more questions, all of which distract from one crucial thing. In blindly supporting Cummings, the government has, once again, demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the barriers many of the population face every single day, which have only been heightened by the current situation.

Thousands of parents found themselves at home while battling this debilitating illness. They did not all have the benefit of family and/or a second residence available to them. Those who did, did not seek support in this way, as they were following government advice without interpretation, for the greater good of the public.

Repeatedly saying that the rules were open to interpretation from concerned parents is an insult to the thousands of good, hard-working parents who have been observing the letter and spirit of the rules at great personal sacrifice.

I urge you to put pressure on the Prime Minister to do the honourable thing and dismiss Dominic Cummings, paving the way to rebuild public trust in the government at this time.

Yours sincerely,
Lindsay and Terry Ogden: Catfield

‘The exemplary response by Government?’

28th May 2020

Dear Editors at EDP and ~NNorfolk News,

Thankfully our North Norfolk Member of Parliament, Duncan Baker, has had the integrity to ask for Dominic Cummings to be publicly reprimanded for his actions. “It is vital that he leads by example…he broke the spirit – if not the letter – of the guidance” – to quote from Mr Baker’s letter to his constituents.

So far, so good. However, in the same letter, Mr Baker refers to “the otherwise exemplary response by the Government”. Here are some questions for him. Why did the Government so badly underestimate the gravity of the crisis in the initial stages (failure to implement immediate lockdown; the Prime Minister shaking hands unprotected in hospitals)? Why was there a shortage of protective equipment? Why was the critical role of care homes not recognised and the role of the problems of the sector ignored?

Going forward there will be important policy issues to be discussed: how to protect the Health Service in unwelcome trade talks with the US; the UK’s role as part of the international community, especially the European Union, in control and prevention; the need to show respect to the migrant workers who have contributed so much to maintaining our infrastructure. Mr Baker, who was elected at a time when xenophobia was in fashion, may find these questions difficult to answer. He must, however, expect to be held to account for his actions and for those of his Party.

Your faithfully
Martyn Sloman

Published in North Norfolk News 4/6/20

Lockdown breach was serious 

Whatever your political view, Dominic Cummings says he was starting to feel unwell believing it to be coronavirus and would have known how serious this could be. Yet he got in a car and drove 260 miles. This in itself was irresponsible putting himself, his wife and child at risk. He should not have been driving with a virus which can take hold very quickly.

He later he drove 30 miles to test his eyesight.  30 miles is not  short nip down the road. It’s a fair trip on its own and any fair minded person would see that his next trip should be out on a bike!

David G.Spencer

Southrepps

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