I KNOW that Monday night’s announcement from the Prime Minister will have given many people a sense of hope that we might finally be on the pathway to some kind of normality.

Although the Government is continuing to advise caution and has been clear that the scientific data will lead any decision-making, it does feel like there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.

However, we need to be clear that the current lockdown restrictions do remain in place and we will see continuing rules and regulations over the coming months.

The last thing anybody wants is for people to get ahead of themselves and risk rising infection rates at a time when so much good work has been done to protect our NHS.

Here in Swindon and Wiltshire we have seen fantastic compliance, and I know that so many of you have given up so much to do your bit in this battle against Covid-19.

But there are still small pockets within our communities who seem to think the rules don’t apply to them.

Over the weekend Wiltshire Police officers were called to three separate house parties in Swindon.

Fines were issued to those involved, and I hope that the recent publicity around the number of fixed penalty notices the Force is now issuing, provides some reassurance that these breaches won’t be tolerated.

We cannot let the selfish actions of the minority impact the efforts of the wider majority.

This feels like a pivotal time in this pandemic.

We are so close to a return to normal life and we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves and risk everything we have worked so hard for.

There is not going to be a quick exit from lockdown and we must be patient, no matter how hard that may feel at times.

I am urging everyone to remain cautious and not pre-empt announcements before they are confirmed by the Prime Minister.

We need to take this a step at a time.

We are all looking to brighter days ahead, but we also know that many restrictions will continue to last throughout the spring, and potentially into the summer.

So please continue to adhere to the rules to help keep us all safe.