Parliament returns a day early from the Easter recess this afternoon, for tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, with other business resuming tomorrow still largely online. Today’s re-opening of non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and other businesses is an important step as we emerge from the Covid lockdown and I’ll be following it closely.

I’m pleased to have been invited to join the UK Trade & Business Commission which has been launched today to look at the issues arising from UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and other trade deals – to learn lessons and recommend improvements. Our first session will be held on Thursday and that evening I am speaking at a Sheffield for Europe event reflecting on 100 days since the UK left the transition period.

As business resumes in Parliament I’ll be looking at opportunities to raise the Government’s failure to make an announcement on the return to campuses of students not on practical courses, on which I wrote to the Prime Minister last week. I will also be attending the AGM of the Universities All-Party Parliamentary Group of which I am Secretary.

Also this week I’ll be speaking at an event seeking to build a link between An Najah University in Nablus and our local universities, as part of a wider initiative to develop twinning links between Sheffield and the Palestinian city, following my visit to the West Bank in 2017. I also hope to speak in a Parliamentary debate on the asylum system and its impact on the mental health of those seeking refuge in the UK.

As the easing of lockdown allows the restart of political campaigning, and following the pause of respect for the Duke of Edinburgh, I will be out knocking on doors in Walkley on Wednesday evening, Manor on Friday and Kelham on Sunday – and looking forward to hearing views of meeting constituents at the weekend.

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