An Open Letter to Darren Henry

Dear Darren

I hope you are well at this time of crisis.

I know this is not the only email you will receive today. I know many people across Broxtowe, including many who lent you there vote in December, will either have taken time last night or on this beautiful Bank Holiday to express their feelings of disappointment and anger at you and your party, notably the Prime Minister and his advisor, Dominic Cummings.

I do not need to reiterate the reasons in any great detail: I am sure you are more than aware of them. The facts remain the same: Cummings flouted the Government’s own guidelines on the lockdown, and put lives at risk. The lockdown rules were very clear – I was very supportive of the clarity of the government message at the time – you stay at home, you stay in your primary residence, you do not travel to a vulnerable relative’s house. You do everything you can to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. You seek local help and you look after others if able.

I have seen the tremendous fortitude displayed by people nationwide, as well as closer to home. You will be aware that your constituency is neighbours with one of Europe’s largest teaching hospitals, and thus many in Beeston and the wider Broxtowe area are employed there. I have heard there sacrifices. I have heard the stories of clinicians and carers isolating from their family to reduce the risk of infection.

Many, myself included, did everything we can to provide for those less fortunate: we set up mutual aid groups, we organised , street by street, to look after others. We collated together useful information and made sure that every single person who asked for help received help. We did this because it was the right thing to do. To quote your leader “There is such thing as society”.

I have heard the stories of parents dying without their children being able to hold their hand as they pass. I have been reduced to tears at the stories of infants dying, alone and surrounded by strangers, and their absolute heartbreak at not even being able to attend the funeral. A bus driver here in the Rylands, a lovely young man who was due to get engaged this year, died early in the crisis, doing his job. We will not know for some time how many care-workers, how many nurses, how many people who selflessly put their life on the line for others have died during the crisis. Each one is a story of heroism.

Last night, your leader Boris Johnson, laughed in their faces. He told them that these sacrifices, these acts of selflessness and goodness, these displays of the best side of people’s characters, they were all for nought. He told them that they were bad parents, they were not instinctive, that they were stupid to interpret the lockdown rules rather read them clearly and act appropriately.

I know you will respond, if you do respond, in a pat manner with attempts to ‘move things along’. You’ll probably say the subject is too complex for us non-elites to understand, albeit in not so many words. You will parrot Johnson. You will ignore your own conscience which must grate at such injustice.

I ask you to not do that.

When you were elected to represent us, you swore an oath to be Broxtowe’s voice in Westminster. I was prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt. There has been scant evidence of this of late, and a failure to address this issue will further reinforce the burgeoning view of constituents of all political hues and none that you are not concerned with their representation, solely with your own career progression.

If this is the case, it is my duty as a constituent to institute a recall petition so we can find somebody who truly can be a voice for Broxtowe, not a mouthpiece for the Government.

Kind Regards

Matt Turpin

ps: For added clarity and in the spirit of transparency can you tell us where you have been spending lockdown?