I have heard from a number of constituents who are disappointed to be told that dogs must be kept on leads in Richmond Park, as in other parks and open spaces. I have asked Royal Parks about this and have been told that the reason is that a minority of dogs will not return to their owners when called and will approach other people and dogs. This necessitates the owners coming into close contact to retrieve them, putting everyone involved at risk.
I know it is frustrating if your dog is well behaved off the lead and is being denied the chance to roam because of other people’s dogs. But please understand that this protective measure is one that Royal Parks will keep under review. If it is possible to reinstate free range dog walking they will be happy to do so.

I have heard that a number of people have received texts purporting to be from the government. These fake texts inform the receiver that they have been fined for leaving the house and give a link to pay the “fine” online. These texts are fraudulent – they are part of a scam. Please do not make any payments online or over the phone in response to a text, and please share this information, especially with anyone who is vulnerable.

Sadly, most of the people who were struggling with serious illnesses before coronavirus arrived still have to face that challenge. Many may be unsure of how best to protect themselves – especially those living with cancer who, alongside their friends and families, will want to take extra care. Cancer Research have made a web guide to address this and have asked me to share this link.

South West London Law Centres have been in touch to let me know that they are still open and able to support local people, while complying with social distancing. Their offices are closed, but they are still offering advice by phone on a range of legal problems, including: Housing, Employment, Debt, and Welfare Rights.
Email For specialist debt advice, please email
Phone 020 8767 2777 or for debt advice call 020 8667 9252.

A number of my constituents have also been in touch asking me to clarify points that they feel they have received unclear advice from government about, such as who exactly is allowed to be working outside the home, what retail businesses must do to enforce social distancing and hygiene measures, and where residents are allowed to take their exercise.
I have been speaking to my colleagues in Parliament about this, and I expect that as the government refines its response to the crisis many of these questions will be answered. In the meantime, please try to err on the side of caution. The more careful we all are now, the better the outcome will be for the country down the line. Thank you for all the sacrifices you are already making, and for committing to carrying on until this is over.


Sarah Olney MP

Update 30th March
Earlier updates can be accessed from the above link.