The Government’s decision to impose a second nation-wide lockdown in England has caused a great deal of understandable concern among my constituents, both in terms of the personal toll on individuals and the threat posed to local businesses.
Many constituents and businesses have contacted me with grave fears about their futures - from the risk of unemployment and financial hardship to the impact on our physical and mental health, as gyms close and social isolation worsens. I absolutely understand and empathise with every single one of these extremely valid concerns.
However, despite the very real threat to our lives and livelihoods posed by a second lockdown, the grim reality is that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues have been told that Covid-19 presents an even greater and more immediate danger than previously. Our scientists’ models suggest that unless we act now, we could see potentially twice as many deaths over the winter compared with the first wave.
And we have been told that if we do not take decisive action right now, in addition to the surge in deaths from the disease itself, we run the risk of overwhelming the NHS in the coming weeks and months. This would have devastating consequences for those missing out on the care they urgently need because beds and NHS staff are, or maybe, under pressure caring for Coronavirus patients, which in turn could trigger further sickness and deaths.
Unfortunately, until a vaccine is developed, the only effective tool we have to fend of these dire consequences is to drastically reduce the opportunity the virus has to spread by starving it of new people to infect. That is why I decided with a heavy heart and having considered all persuasive sides of the debate, to vote in support of the Government when it came to lockdown 2.0. I came to my decision having weighed up the various ‘trade-offs’ and my belief was that the time is now.
Please do not doubt for a moment the seriousness with which I took this decision -- to vote for a course of action that will deprive many people of the very things that I know bring joy and happiness to their lives, whether it be attending church, playing in a local football team, or simply spending time with loved ones.
It may not seem like it now, as we enter into a second lockdown and the winter months draw in, but if we hold our nerve we will get through this and when we do, there will be bright days ahead.