top of page

Recent News


Richmond Park News: 8 January 2021

This afternoon Mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a major incident due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the capital and the dangerous pressure on hospitals. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in London now exceeds 1,000 per 100,000. The ONS is estimating that one in thirty Londoners is infected with Covid-19.

The Chief Nurse for Public Health London, Martin Machray, said in our briefing today that the London NHS is in a perilous position, with hospitals desperately trying to add capacity to meet demand. In his words, they are "building a railroad as the train comes down the track." He promised that the NHS would take care of Londoners, but they need Londoners to take care of themselves. The best way to do this is to stay home. If you must go out, please wear a mask at all times, even outside, unless you are exempt or exercising.

I was briefed yesterday by Stephen House, Metropolitan Police Deputy Police Commissioner, on a number of local policing issues, including lockdown enforcement. He told me that there is now a sharper focus for the Met Police on people sticking to the rules. Officers will be issuing fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, wilful and serious breaches of the rules.

Stephen said that in practice this will mean that people attending parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings can expect to be fined – not just the organisers of such events. Similarly, those not wearing masks where they should be without good reason can expect to be fined.

Additionally, with fewer “reasonable excuses” for people to be away from their home, people can expect officers to be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about. Where officers identify people without a lawful reason to be away from home they will move more quickly to enforcement.

Local police will also be working with Council officers to help ensure businesses and people using public spaces like parks and essential shops are following the rules.

Most of my constituents are doing the right thing -- observing the rules to protect themselves, their families and the wider community. But for the few who are not complying, the police will be taking a harder line.

I ask everyone in Richmond Park to do everything they can to get case numbers down. Please stay home unless you absolutely must go out. And if you must go out, please wear a face covering, use hand sanitiser, and give people in your vicinity plenty of space. These are the most important things you can do to help our healthcare workers, who are working nonstop and risking their lives to take care of us.


The Secretary of State for Education announced this week that teachers' estimated grades will replace GCSE and A-level results again this year, but without being moderated by an algorithm.

I spoke in the House of Commons (virtually) on Wednesday, during the debate on the new plans. I asked Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, about the timing for awarding GCSE and A Level grades this year. As the pupils will be receiving grades assessed by the teachers, there is no reason they can't be given their grades earlier in the summer. This would prevent the last minute chaos that so many of my young constituents endured this year. Early grades would give candidates time for appeals, resits and decision-making before university terms start. The Secretary agreed to consider this and I look forward to hearing from him about it. You can see my question and his response in the video above.


On Wednesday I wrote to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, asking him to prioritise keeping businesses afloat during this lockdown. I called on him to provide additional support, especially to the hospitality, cultural and retail sectors, and to extend the furlough scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme until June, broadening them to include the millions who were not eligible for previous schemes. Extension of business loans, business rates relief and VAT relief are also essential.

It is vitally important that the Government helps businesses and jobs survive this lockdown, so we can rebuild after the vaccine has been rolled out. We cannot carry on with a financial support system so full of holes. You can see my letter to the Chancellor here.


I thought residents in both Richmond and Kingston boroughs would like some news about the situation at Kingston Hospital, who sent me this update:

  • The hospital has been extremely busy over Christmas and the New Year. They have made a number of changes to ensure that they are able to provide care for the large numbers of COVID-19 patients they are seeing whilst supporting staff and keeping everyone safe.

  • The hospital has had to make the difficult decision to pause some planned care procedures and outpatient appointments, in order to re-deploy staff from those areas into the areas of high pressure in the hospital.

  • You will be notified if you have an appointment and it has to be cancelled. If you have not been notified of a cancellation, please attend your appointment as scheduled.

  • Emergency care and emergency procedures are continuing as normal at Kingston Hospital.

  • The hospital has been able to transfer a small cohort of patients recovering from COVID to the NHS Seacole Centre in Epsom, to take pressure off the hospital.

  • The hospital has launched its vaccination programme, vaccinating patients aged 80 and over, staff working in local care homes and NHS staff who are at high risk.


I have heard from a number of constituents this week about the prioritisation of vaccine recipients. I wanted to clarify the intentions and the stages of this programme for you.

The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisations (the JCVI, whose advice the Government is following) recommends that the first priorities for the vaccination programme should be twofold: prevention of deaths and protection of the health and social care system. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases most sharply with age, prioritisation is primarily based on that factor.

The list below constitutes Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout. The vaccine is currently being given to groups 1 and 2 in the list. Once that is complete they will move on to the next groups on this list in order.

Phase 1 Groups:

  1. residents in care homes for older adults and their carers

  2. all those 80 years of age and over, plus frontline health and social care workers

  3. all those 75 years of age and over

  4. all those 70 years of age and over, plus clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) individuals

  5. all those 65 years of age and over

  6. persons aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk

  7. all those 60 years of age and over

  8. all those 55 years of age and over

  9. all those 50 years of age and over

It is estimated that, taken together, the nine groups above represent less than half of the population but 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19. The target to achieve this is the end of June.

Vaccinating the first four groups above (less than 20% of the population) should prevent about 90% of preventable deaths. The government is hoping to have these four groups vaccinated by mid-February.

You can see detailed information about the vaccine rollout here.


I have heard alarming reports today that fraudsters are contacting people and asking for their bank details to pay for a Covid-19 vaccination. You can see the BBC report on a shocking incident in Surbiton today here, including CCTV photographs of the criminal, who pretended to inject an elderly victim. The police are asking the public for information.

Other people are receiving very convincing-looking text messages pretending to be from the NHS asking people to ‘sign up’ to get the COVID-19 vaccine, using NHS logos and lettering. These are also scam messages - please delete them without opening any links in them.

Please note that the vaccine is free and is only available from the NHS. There is no way to pay to get it sooner. Please do not give your bank details or other personal information to anyone claiming to be connected to the NHS.

If you are contacted in this way, please report it to Action Fraud:

And if you have a vulnerable friend or relative, please warn them of this danger and remind them not to give out their details, especially bank details, over the phone or at the door.