THE first duty of Government is to protect people and this week has seen important legislation before Parliament to protect public safety with two new pieces of law – one a private member’s bill which has been adopted by the Government to deliver Helen’s Law and the other a Government bill to end early release of convicted terrorists.

The Helen’s law campaign was launched after the tragic case of Helen McCourt, whose murderer was convicted and sentenced but refused to reveal to the police or her family the whereabouts of her body.

It called for courts to be able to take into account such decisions in their sentencing and to be able to withhold parole from people who consciously held back information that could be of comfort to their victims’ families.

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The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill, brought in as emergency legislation following the recent attacks on London Bridge and in Streatham, ensures that convicted terrorists should never be subject to automatic early release and that a proper parole board should have to consider the case for when and whether it is safe for them to be released. Along with measures to invest in the police up and down the country, to increase recruitment of frontline police officers – these small but important legal changes should keep more people safe.

The recent extremes of weather have brought some extra challenges to people traveling around the County with a number of trees blown down and, at times, icy roads. It has been good to see the County highways teams hard at work getting roads reopened and gritting to keep roadways as safe as possible.

Although we haven’t seen in Worcester on this occasion the severity of flooding that they have been suffering further north, the bad weather is a reminder that we always need to consider our city’s resilience and its flood defences.

I have welcomed plans from the Government to plant more urban trees and to support councils in maintaining them – more trees help to make Worcester a better place to live but also help the ground to absorb water and reduce air pollution.

I have also welcomed the decision of the cabinet and the Prime Minister to approve HS2, one of the largest and most keenly awaited investments in infrastructure in decades but particularly welcomed the fact that this has come alongside investment in buses, cycling and rail transport across the country.

I want to ensure that Worcester benefits from the package of billions which has been announced for new sustainable transport and in particular, I want to see more local rail services make use of the long-awaited Parkway Station and improve the service to Birmingham.

Getting HS2 approved is a big victory for the West Midlands Metro Mayor, Andy Street but he is right to be calling at the same time for more carriages and a better service on the West Midlands Railway line between Worcester and Birmingham.

Although services have started to improve since the appalling situation in December, he is right to have been pressing for more and I am glad that the Transport Secretary has supported him by requiring WMT to invest a further £20 million in refunds and improving performance.