Over the last few weeks of this terrible coronavirus crisis, our lives have become dominated by numbers. Every evening the terrible death toll is revealed and we all look for hope amongst the graphs of hospital admission, critical care and infection rates. For me, there have also been a blizzard of other numbers, those of the telephone conference calls, the Zoom online meeting codes, and the Skype passes which have filled my day from dawn till dusk.

The work of an MP never stops, and this has been especially true during this crisis, as the email inbox has filled every day with distressed constituents looking for answers. My team and I have worked flat out seven days a week to answer everyone as best we can, from those with relatives caught abroad on holiday and small businesses forced to close, to people with questions about lockdown regulations and those shielding because of their serious condition. We have done our best to help everyone, and my weekly surgeries have continued, albeit by conference call.

My duties as Minister for Policing and Justice have also continued, and the resilience of our police force across the country has never been more important. Enforcement of the lockdown regulations put the police in a unique and very difficult position, which took some bedding in, and I have been in daily meetings with police chiefs from across the country, as well as staying in touch with the frontline. Throughout we have had to adapt to the changing nature of crime, and understand what that means for the future. Happily we have been able to continue recruitment of the new 20,000 officers with online training, and we reached 3,005 at the end of March, a huge achievement in the circumstances.

Early on in the crisis, the Prime Minister asked me to help with the fight for London too, where the crisis was initially very acute. My past history in the capital meant that I was able to help stabilize the co-ordination between the various organisations, like the police, NHS and local government, and put things on even keel. I will never forget my visit to one of the large temporary mortuaries built in West London.

More locally, unable to romp about our beautiful part of the world as I normally do, I’ve been connecting with people through my video podcasts, available to view on Facebook and my website, or download by searching for “The Maltcast”. From the vicar of St Mary’s, to the local police chief and chief executive of the hospital, it’s been great to understand their issues and see their dedication. The most heartening interviews have been with the isolation help groups, which sprang up across the constituency within days. From Andover to Tadley, large groups have formed with people from all walks of life to help those who need it.

Their commitment to their neighbours has been the shining light through the darkness of this crisis, and I hope that as we emerge from this terrible time, as we mourn for those who have lost their lives, we can preserve what has been the very best of us.