The week of the Environment Bill Votes a member of my staff tested positive for Coronavirus. After learning of this, and after being in close contact with them, I went and got a PCR test to ensure that I did not have COVID nor that I was risking passing COVID to anyone else. To ensure that this was possible, the Labour Whips, allowed me to be ‘paired’ with another MP. Pairing is an arrangement between two MPs of opposing parties to not vote in a particular division. This enables an MP to be absent without affecting the result of the vote as they effectively cancel each other out.
Because of this, while I was waiting for my test result to come back, I was absent for some votes last week, including votes on the Environment Bill.
It is despicable that not one English river is in a healthy condition, with 0% meeting good chemical standards and only 14% meeting good ecological standards. I know that people in Garston and Halewood want our local rivers and streams to be free from raw sewage, but human effluent is still routinely discharged into our seas and rivers. It not only makes river waters unsafe to swim in for local people, but it also damages the precious river habitats for marine life, birds and mammals.