This morning, I announced my campaign to be the next Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
If you'd like to find out more about this, please visit my campaign website voteEd.uk.
Last month, I co-wrote to the Chief Executive of The Royal Parks asking them to reopen Richmond Park to commuter cyclists as soon as possible, and I'm pleased to say that the park will reopen from today (Tuesday, 2 June), albeit partially for now.
The joint letter, also signed by Sarah Olney MP, Cllr Caroline Kerr and Cllr Gareth Roberts, raised concerns that as the Government lifted the coronavirus lockdown, without this vital artery for residents in Kingston upon Thames to commute by bike into central London, more people would be attempting to use public transport.
Richmond Park partially reopened for cyclists on weekdays, before 10am and after 4pm.
At this time of crisis, it is essential that we get children back into schools across the Borough of Kingston at the earliest opportunity because each day that children are stuck at home, the disadvantage-gap grows wider, and the most vulnerable children risk falling through the cracks.
However, we must ensure that schools are safe for children to return en masse. The evidence around coronavirus transmitting less easily between children is not yet conclusive and I fear that the Government might be more anxious about parents returning to work than keeping children safe.
Whilst we all understand the need to lock down to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, we must also ensure that we're looking after our mental health as well as our physical health. That’s why now is a good time to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
We all feel the stresses and strains of everyday life, and some of us have deeper underlying mental health issues to cope with. Connecting with people can make a big difference, and for me, in these difficult times, what makes the difference is spending quality time with my wife and children.
Being there for someone can sometimes be the most important step, and that’s why the Mental Health Foundation's theme this year couldn't be more appropriate: Kindness.
As thousands of people return to work under new government guidance, it's more important than ever that people have the opportunity to commute by bicycle if they wish to avoid public transport. Along with my colleagues – Sarah Olney MP, Cllr Caroline Kerr and Cllr Gareth Roberts – I've called for Richmond Park to be reopened to commuter cyclists.
Richmond Park is a prime route into central London for many people in the constituency and reopening it would significantly cut travel times, reduce congestion on surrounding roads and, by making the journey more pleasant, encourage even more commuters to take up cycling. It would also ease the pressure on our public transport and help more people in social distancing when commuting.
Our joint letter to the Chief Executive of The Royal Parks, which manages the Richmond Park, asks for them to reopen the park to commuter cyclists as soon as possible. Scroll down to read the full letter.