It is a pleasure to follow the passionate speech of Mr Dhesi. I first want to thank all NHS workers, who have done a tremendous job during this covid period. My speech will not be so friendly, so I want to start by thanking the Minister, who has been tremendous in supporting me in Wealden, where we have a particularly large care home system—I have a lot of older constituents. Regardless of the day of the week and the time of day, she has been incredibly responsive. Unfortunately, the rest of my speech will not be so flattering, so I will just crack on.
Like so many people in this country, I have lost loved ones to covid. I also have loved ones working on the frontline dealing with covid. We had the experience and network to highlight quite early on that we saw a pattern forming, but we were met with, “We don’t have the data”—it is 2020, and we do not have the data. I understand the argument that this is an unusual situation, and that we did not have the statistics to deal with this particular pandemic, but we do have data about how viruses spread. We also understand the long-standing institutional biases of NHS England and Public Health England, which have failed in their leadership, are unaccountable, and hide behind the catch-all, “We just don’t have the data.” It is shameful.