Diary - theatres need more guidance from Government

Up early and then our weekly conference call with Dorset Council and my fellow Dorset MPs. These briefings and exchange of views have proved most beneficial and I hope they will continue in some form, maybe not so frequently. There is a lot to co-ordinate for the benefit of all our constituents, from macro issues to micro ones. A cohesive and well thought-through plan, with the support of all MPs, is the most likely to succeed. I think we've all learnt alot through this pandemic and I've certainly learnt to appreciate the council's work, with many staff working long hours to meet a spiralling demand. I am doing all I can help Phil Say, the Director of Weymouth Pavilion. He and his staff are caught in the perfect storm and we had a long chat about his situation. Phil, along with countless other venues, understandably require some guidance from Government as to when they can open. Re-opening a theatre takes time and planning, especially if it has to be adapted to meet social-distancing rules. Phil's plight only reminds me yet again of the damage this lock-down has caused. At 1500 I spent an hour in private session with several colleagues. A  most useful forum, where we can speak our minds in confidence - unusual in today's political climate. As the virus diminishes, the government is considering making face coverings mandatory in shops in England to slow the spread of coronavirus. I'm not sure this is right direction of travel. This is the UK, and if people want to wear face coverings, they can, but it should not be mandatory. Poignantly, and very appropriately, two Spitfires flew over the funeral procession of Dame Vera Lynn as family, friends and fans said goodbye to the Forces' Sweetheart. She was an icon and her wartime songs gave us all hope during a very dark time for our island nation. She will be sorely missed.