Keeping the country and its people safe and secure must be the first priority of any government.
As part of Keir Starmer’s recent reshuffle, I am pleased to have taken up the role of Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, a post with many different aspects, including “resilience” – our ability as a nation to be ready and prepared in the event of an emergency.
From pandemics to flooding, heatwaves to terror attacks, central government needs to lead in responding to challenges that can affect our economy, our public services and our everyday lives.
COVID and other situations show the Tories are prone to taking their eye off the ball. Successive Prime Ministers, so caught up in their internal party squabbles have often let the country down, failing to live up to the basic responsibilities of government.
So many times, they have been left wanting. Caught out when reacting to important events.
Thirteen years of cuts to public services are taking their toll. A lack of investment in response systems, infrastructure and resilience planning is simply not good enough.
That is why I am keen that a future Labour Government will take a different approach.
The whole system of emergency planning needs to be transformed. More effective relationships between central government, devolved government, councils, the voluntary sector and others need to be developed, similar to those already created by the Welsh Labour Government here in Wales. We need to be more open about the challenges we face and provide advice, training and support on how they can be dealt with.
Government isn’t easy. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable.
Resilience planning for a crisis might not be glamorous either but I will continue to press for action to make us all safer when the time comes that we might need help the most.