Thank you for contacting me about the package of stricter measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus which were set out by the Prime Minister on 31 October. No Government wants to bring in restrictions like these but sadly the epidemiology of the virus has now made this necessary. I fully support the Prime Minister and Government in this decision and have voted in the House of Commons accordingly.
As the Prime Minister said, in less than a year, this disease has claimed the lives of almost a million people worldwide and caused havoc to economies everywhere.
In March, we all pulled together in a spirit of national sacrifice and community. Acting together, for the benefit of all, we ensured the NHS was protected and thousands of lives were saved. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that the virus has recently started to spread again and that is why the Prime Minister has acted.
The tiered framework previously announced by the Prime Minister was designed to simplify local restrictions and enable targeted action to be taken in areas where the number of cases was increasing significantly. However, when it became clear that cases were increasing in all regions, the Prime Minister took the difficult decision to put further restrictions in place across England, asking people to stay at home as much as possible for four weeks.
The legislation is time-limited, but as the current situation has shown, we must be guided by the facts and the scientific and medical evidence. When this new lockdown period ends, I very much hope that the tiered framework already established will continue to enable the Government and local authorities to work together to target regional outbreaks.
I appreciate that these stricter measures impact on all of our ways of life, but I firmly believe we must comply and play our parts in saving lives and protecting vulnerable people. What we must remember is that, unfortunately, what is one person’s mild cough or fever can be much more significant and serious for other people – as the Prime Minister said. We must act in a spirit of togetherness to suppress this virus now to save lives.
Measures must continue to be proportionate to the risk the virus poses, and the impact on the economy, livelihoods and personal freedoms cannot be too great. I will continue to call on the Government to support with financial measures individuals and businesses through this crisis, including sectors that have been hit especially hard. I will bear in mind the views you have raised and continue to ensure the people of Penrith and The Border are represented, both in my discussions with Ministers and in deliberations in the House of Commons.