Worthing and Shoreham MP votes against national lockdown

East Worthing and Shoreham’s MP voted against the four-week lockdown in the Commons yesterday.

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 12:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th November 2020, 1:19 pm

New national restrictions came into force this morning (Thursday November 5) and will last until December 2.

Tim Loughton was one of 38 MPs to vote against the measures.

He said: “National lockdown is a big step. The science for it is questionable, and the business case against it overwhelming. Why are we doing it at this stage before seeing the effects of regional lockdowns? For me, the case is not proven, the proposed measures are not proportionate, and I cannot vote for them.”

He described keeping an open mind and acknowledged the government had to make a judgement call based on clinical advice, the economy and what would be sustainable in terms of compliance.

While there was no risk-free option, he suggested ‘too often’ the advice from clinical experts is ‘confusing and contradictory’.

Mr Loughton also asked what weighting was being given to the rise in non-Covid deaths at home.

But the impact on business was his greatest concern with the hospitality industry ‘hugely hit’.

MP Tim Loughton

He added: “For many, this is economic death by 1,000 cuts. It is a salami-slicing of business, and the resulting redundancies, bankruptcies and reduced wages will affect the livelihoods and lives of many of our constituents. At the very least, we should have an economic audit of the impact of lockdown, which feeds into and challenges the scientific advice.

“The other crucial factor is what people are prepared to accept and follow, and that is linked to confidence and the explanations they are given. People see apparent contradictions such as: ‘Go and exercise, but you can’t play golf. You can’t play tennis and children cannot exercise outside. You can’t go to church’ and if logic is not being applied, people’s confidence is trashed.”

The area’s other MPs, Worthing West’s Sir Peter Bottomley, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton’s Nick Gibb and Arundel and South Downs’ Andrew Griffith all voted in favour.

Sir Peter did raise some point where he believed they had ‘not got it right’ and thought all separated sports should be allowed.

He added: “I can see the problem ​with more intimate sports, such as wrestling and other recreations of that kind, but I believe that we ought to be able to make provision for people to get exercise.”

Sir Peter also asked about compensation for those who are affected and are not getting support, such as those in the events industry and freelancers who ‘seem to have been hung out to dry’.

He continued: “Those who started new businesses—we know that four out of five new businesses do not last—in the past year or so seem to have been excluded. I believe we have a duty to do more for those people. The excluded should be included.”

During the same debate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I feel the pain and anxiety that we will all share in the month ahead. But as Prime Minister, when I am confronted with data which projects that our NHS could even collapse, with deaths in the second wave potentially exceeding those of the first, and when I look at what is happening among some of our continental friends and see doctors who have tested positive being ordered to work on covid wards and patients airlifted to hospitals in some other countries simply to make space, I can reach only one conclusion: I am not prepared to take the risk with the lives of the British people.”