In a ground breaking step a Yorkshire Constituency Labour Party has hosted a public Zoom meeting for Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake. ‘We did this in response to the many concerns expressed by constituents over the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic’, said David Yellen, Chair of Thirsk & Malton Labour Party. ‘I am very pleased that Mr. Hollinrake agreed to our proposal to open himself up to questions from the public and I welcome his candour in answering them. I believe we provided a valuable service in facilitating the event’.
‘As a constituency Labour Party we remain highly critical of the government’s performance in managing the pandemic’ said David Yellen, ‘although we applaud the great job front line staff have been doing throughout. The NHS rollout of vaccinations has been genuinely world beating. The fact remains that it is government policy of cuts and privatisation over many years across the key areas of education, health, housing and social care which have left us so vulnerable and are a primary cause of the shocking death rate and damage to the economy.’
Nearly 100 members of the public logged in and many were involved in the discussion. It was well organised; everyone who wanted to speak got a chance. Participants appreciated the fact that Mr Hollinrake accepted all questions and gave comprehensive answers. People seemed generally to find the event worthwhile even if they were not persuaded by all the answers.
Mr Hollinrake’s commitments to support the campaign to keep the North Yorkshire outdoor centres open, to campaign for more affordable housing and to look into the issue of University accommodation fees were all welcomed.
When challenged on the government’s lack of preparedness Mr Hollinrake’s view was that pandemic planning had not been seen as a sufficient priority. He acknowledged that mistakes had been made and said the government needed to plan for the next pandemic.
His admission that he had been too hasty in defending Dominic Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle was widely appreciated.
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