This week in Westminster I have supported the Overseas Operations Bill, the Bill seeks to give additional protection to members of our armed forces who have seen active duty. Whilst it is vital that service personnel are held to the highest standards of behaviour and conduct, this Bill ensures that credible allegations continue to be investigated and prosecuted where appropriate, but also that our Armed Forces will be protected from those vexatious claims and repeated investigations that so many have suffered in recent years. I was particularly pleased to have confirmation that veterans from Operation Banner will receive those same protections.
Of course this week we entered a national lockdown in England for 28 days. I did support the measures and I was pleased to see from my online survey that most people who took part shared my view that a lockdown was necessary and that a balanced approach to safeguarding the NHS, saving lives and protecting the economy was the correct way to go. I know that everyone has a view to share on this subject, some people are frustrated about which restrictions have been included, and others site the views of alternative experts. My understanding is based on the advice of the Government's medical and scientific experts, and I can only thank people again for cooperating with the rules as we work through this difficult situation.
I popped into N0.10 this week for a meeting about several issues relating to Heywood and Middleton and the North West. Meetings like this are an important opportunity to share the views of constituents and to make sure that local voices are being heard at the most senior level in Westminster.
I am aware that there have been continuing problems with anti-social behaviour in Heywood this week and I can assure residents that I will be continuing to pr to work with the local and divisional police to ensure that they are making every effort to support local shops and provide a presence to reassure constituents and deter the unacceptable behaviour of a few within our community.
My first Remembrance Day as an MP was a very strange one. Being used to the gathering and commemoration that is customary it was strange to experience Remembrance Sunday with very limited numbers and social distancing. I visited the memorials in Middleton, Castleton, Norden, Bamford and Heywood and it was lovely to see that so many people have still made the effort to come out in their own time over the past few days to take a moment and place their poppies. In Norden there was a beautiful display of knitted poppies set out by the local WI and over in Middleton the Providence Church Remembrance Garden was looking incredible. These handmade efforts are all the more special because of the love and care that has gone into their creation. My thanks go to the Heywood Veterans Association who once again performed a very sensible, safe and socially distance ceremony with limited people, making sure that the day was marked in a way appropriate to the current situation.