View from Westminster: My Jamaica Road office is back in business

News Desk (19 August, 2020)

'Ministers under Johnson all seem to have A grades in arrogance and incompetence and Fs for empathy and ability'

31612Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark

After five months of only being able to help people by phone and email, it has been great to be able open the doors of my Jamaica Road office to local people again, writes Neil Coyle…

In order to keep everyone safe this is by appointment only. I will re-start the open-door advice surgery sessions every Friday as soon as I safely can.

In the meantime, if you live in Bermondsey & Old Southwark and would like to see me about any issue please call 020 7219 7650 or email me at

Southwark has begun to reopen but other parts of the country have not been so fortunate, experiencing longer or new lockdowns.

It is imperative we all continue to protect one another but too many people seem to think the rules do not apply to them.

I am getting many complaints about noisy, late parties and drug use in several parks and areas. I will keep working with the police and council to tackle problems but we all need to work together. Please ensure your children and grandchildren are staying safe and not putting you or anyone else at risk. With new lockdowns being imposed elsewhere, no one wants to be responsible for it happening again in Southwark.

Several local headteachers and many A-Level students have been in touch about the national exams fiasco.

Ministers have had months to ensure young people did not face unnecessary anxiety and utterly failed to act. Tory MPs were smugly tweeting about the SNP ‘presiding over the biggest scandal in the history of devolution’ in Scotland and then imposed chaos in England where some students feared their dreams of going to university were being shattered.

The late u-turn was avoidable if ministers had simply done their jobs, as was the distress for families up and down the country and the administrative nightmare for universities.

Sadly, ministers under Johnson all seem to have A grades in arrogance and incompetence and Fs for empathy and ability.

The lockdown was always going to hit our economy hard but the Government is also failing to listen or act to address the steep rise in unemployment.

Since the start of the pandemic, unemployment in Southwark has more than doubled, and it has tripled for under 25s.

Nearly 50,000 people are on the furlough scheme in our borough which ends in October. Ministers are being asked to extend support for some sectors or risk seeing unemployment rocket further, destroying people’s lives overnight.

Parliament returns at the start of September and I hope to see Ministers come back to Westminster with a sense of urgency and some new found responsibility and humility.

COVID has hit our country hard. The only thing “world beating” about our experience is our economy is one of the worst affected and we have the highest excess death rate in Europe whilst Johnson and his ministers have awarded multi-million pound contracts to their donors and friends who have then failed to provide usable PPE or a track and trace system that works.

The chumocracy must end and I hope MPs from all parties will recognise the revulsion with which the public view this sense of entitlement and whiff of corruption. It cannot end well.

I will continue to fight our corner and hope that, as life is beginning to normalise to some extent, everyone will continue to take care and look out for one another and not take undue risks.

Stay safe!


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Neil Coyle
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