The West Country Debate January: Parties, covid and rising energy bills

  • Watch January's edition of the West Country Debate

As the start of a new year the tension in Westminster has continued.

Boris Johnson remains in office despite a growing number of MPs calling on him to go.

The Prime Minister visited a medical centre in Taunton as he denied claims of intimidation within the Conservative party.

Elsewhere the West Country's covid rates are almost back to pre omicron levels - but with South West hospitals recording the worst ambulance waiting times in England is now the right time to lift restrictions?

Joining the panel for these discussions is:

  • Simon Hoare - Conservative MP for North Dorset

  • Wera Hobhouse - Liberal Democrat MP for Bath

  • Karin Smyth - Labour MP for Bristol South


One of the main stories dominating talk in Westminster this month has been the future of the Prime Minister.

Allegations of various covid rule breaches at the heart of Downing Street have damaged Boris Johnson's reputation. He survived an attempt to oust him yesterday by a group of MPs elected in 2019 - including representatives from the South West.

Covid measures relaxed

Next week the rest of the plan B measures - so-called covid passports and facemasks - will stop being mandatory in all settings. 

Self isolation rules could also be scrapped in a couple of months.

Energy bill inflation

We will all be hit by big energy price rises in the spring.

Various charities and think tanks are warning those less well off will struggle to afford to heat their homes.

A report by the Resolution Foundation on energy bills found that 10% of West Country households are under 'fuel stress' - spending a tenth of their income on energy. It says even with Government help the rising cap on energy prices will put even more pressure on people's finances.