The Westminster Attack cast a huge shadow over last week. My thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been turned upside down by the devastation wrought by one evil man. The family of PC Keith Palmer who lost his life keeping us safe and defending our democracy. And the loved ones of those others killed or maimed in the attack. This has been an horrific week for all of us. A terrible reminder that terrible events can happen. Sadly terrorism is part of the modern world and we must do all we can to defeat its evil ideology. An ideology that is a far cry from any religion. Our great religions call for peace and tolerance and should be a bulwark against such awful acts.
When the attack occurred I was voting on the Pensions Bill. The first of 3 votes. The subsequent votes never happened as the sitting was suspended and we found ourselves in lock down for the next 5 hours. We were anxious about what was going on outside as information reached us sporadically. We checked that staff were safe and that people knew we were. I was touched by the number of people who got in touch to express their horror at what was going on and to show their concern and support. Thank you! It was very much appreciated.
The next day the Commons sitting began with a minute's silence. The Prime Minister spoke for the whole nation in her statement condemning the atrocity, making it clear that we would continue to go about our daily business, showing that terrorism cannot beat democracy.
Later that day there were debates on Equitable Life and Social Mobility. I was there for the end of the first one - a scandal that has hit a number of constituents. I spoke briefly in the second one, pointing out the fantastic work sixth form colleges like John Leggott do as engines of social mobility.
I had to leave before the end in order to drop into Kirton Vicarage on my way home and lead a discussion on the 4th mark of mission for lent - 'Seeking to transform the unjust structures of society'. It was an interesting, stimulating evening.
It was great to spend time saying thank you to one of my staff team John O'Connor who is retiring this week. John has worked for Scunthorpe's MP for 15 years giving tireless service to local people; every week making someone's life better by resolving a case. I have been very fortunate to have John as part of my team. He has been fabulous and will be missed. Thank you John!
Another group of people whose work makes a difference locally is the Crosby Community Centre, so I was pleased to drop in to see them and get updated on their work. The North Lincolnshire Mayor's Civic Dinner was an opportunity to recognise all the great work done locally by many organisations and the Council's role in providing community leadership.
Finally it was fantastic to be a guest of Scunthorpe Rugby Club for their penultimate game of the season. In a nail-biting finish the Greens held on to win 28:27! Hoorah!