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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Conservative Party Candidate for York Outer
Any reference to Julian Sturdy being a Member of Parliament on this website predates the dissolution of Parliament and the 2024 General Election campaign

Latest News & Campaigns

York Press column: All action ahead of Easter

York Press column: All action ahead of Easter

It has been a jam-packed couple of weeks since my last column where I had an opportunity to reflect on the Chancellor’s Budget. I want to begin by highlighting the fantastic news that inflation has dropped to 3.4 per cent – the lowest in two and a half years. When the Prime Minister came to

Julian works with Parkinson’s UK

This week in Parliament, Julian had a really positive meeting with Laura from Parkinson’s...

Julian meets with Minister to discuss Renters (Reform) Bill

Alongside Andy Simpson of York Residential Lettings Association, Julian met with Jacob Young MP...

Julian supports Dogs Trust plea to end puppy smuggling

Julian has pledged his support on the issue of puppy smuggling today at a...

York Press column – Reopening York for good

April 21, 2021

With the reopening of non-essential shops, hospitality and sports facilities on 12th April, and lengthening hours of sunlight, life and energy does now seem to be returning to our city as we head towards the fairly normal summer we all deserve.

Like many residents, I have enjoyed a long-overdue haircut, and the hitherto-forbidden privilege of meeting friends for a drink and a meal. It has been great to see how our clobbered hospitality sector in particular has begun to bounce back, and I will be watching to ensure there is now no backsliding from government in allowing for indoor opening from 17th May in line with the published timetable.

Prolonged shutdown has robbed our city of its friendly, bustling character for too long, but now, due to the continuing success of vaccination, we have it in our power to ensure that this lockdown is the last.

Returning towards normality though vaccines must include allowing York families, who have made such huge sacrifices in the last year, to travel abroad for holidays as soon as is safely possible. Last month I cautioned the Business Secretary in the House of Commons against any ‘holidays ban’, and I was encouraged by the government’s travel taskforce recommending that overseas trips could potentially resume as early as 17th May.

We also have to consider the needs of York’s many foreign travel businesses – we cannot go on risking people’s livelihoods for ever. Covid will be with us permanently in some form, and we need to develop ways of coping with each new variant, rather than using the inevitable mutations as a reason to seal ourselves off from the world indefinitely. We must also ensure that the cost of testing required to facilitate holidays does not exclude middle- and low-income families. Last week’s news that one testing provider will cut the PCR test cost in half to £60 is encouraging, but needs to be general, and I have tabled a parliamentary question to the Transport Secretary pushing him to take further action to get fees down.

The risk of exclusion is also why I was one of 70 Conservative MPs who signed a pledge opposing the idea of ‘vaccine passports’, as the government considers whether and how certification of vaccination or covid status could keep future infections under control. Requiring vaccination is reasonable for those getting on an aeroplane, and I am sympathetic to milder proposals like mandatory test results or immunity evidence for attending large events, but am very suspicious of any idea citizens should be legally compelled to show a vaccination certificate to go into shops or pubs. We cannot create a two-tier society side-lining those whose health conditions prevent vaccination, or ethnic minority groups with lower vaccine take-up.

The need to safely but irrevocably reopen our city is why last month I rebelled against the government on its motion to extend emergency powers to impose restrictions under the Coronavirus Act for a further half year. This goes far beyond the end of the government’s roadmap for lifting all legal limits on social contact from 21st June, and long after all those at serious risk from covid have been covered by vaccination, and therefore represents an unnecessary prolonging of the risk of damaging restraints on everyday life. I am happy for the government to have these powers until the end of the unlocking timetable, and expect them to retire these powers before the 6 months are up, but we need to prevent normalisation of emergency powers and a constant state of fear. We must return to a situation where Ministers seek the necessary powers in the normal way through consulting Parliament, rather than effectively removing MPs’ decision-making abilities for long periods.

We must also remember we are only able to safely unlock York because of the rapid pace of local vaccination, some of which I was privileged to witness recently on a visit to the Haxby pharmacy vaccine centre. The professional team and magnificent local volunteers recently tripled their vaccination rate and got through all residents aged 50-plus by operating for 12 consecutive days. Progress like this shows there are real grounds for optimism, and hope that a fairly normal summer may not be far away.