‘We need an injection of confidence’: MPs react to June reopening deadline

Norfolk MPs Duncan Baker, Clive Lewis, Peter Aldous and George Freeman

Norfolk MPs Duncan Baker, Clive Lewis, Peter Aldous and George Freeman - Credit: Archant

Norfolk and Waveney MPs have called for the government to stick to the June 21 ending of covid restrictions - as long as the data allows for it.

Yesterday, health secretary Matt Hancock said a decision on reopening would not be announced until June 14.

Many of Norfolk’s MPs called for the government to stick to the timetable, with Mid Norfolk MP, George Freeman saying: “no one can live under constant curfew”. 

Mr Freeman said June 21 is a "point of hope" after a year of sacrifices.

“I will be urging ministers to stick to it - with very localised restrictions in some specific neighbourhoods where the data shows a high rate of infection."

George Freeman MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman - Credit: Ian Burt


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Adding: “With low rates in Norfolk and very few hospital cases, we have no reason not to reopen Norfolk."

Fellow Tory MP, Duncan Baker, said he would be comfortable moving forward, but expects some measures will remain in place. 

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“I think it is inevitable we will see some degree of restrictions continuing but we will meet the deadline,” the North Norfolk MP said. 

“But I think we will see some things, like masks and some social distancing, continue but limits on meetings indoors will be lifted.” 

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has been getting an increased number of dog theft reports. 

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has been getting an increased number of dog theft reports. - Credit: Archant

Mr Baker also called for high-risk areas to be targeted with support for things like surge testing, adding: “You can’t penalise the rest of the country where the numbers are low. 

“I think we need an injection of confidence as our next injection.” 

Waveney's MP, Peter Aldous and Mr Baker both called for an eye to be kept on the data.

"We have got a framework which is meant to take into account the data leading up to this date," Mr Aldous said.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Peter Aldous

“There has been an increase in infections but that's not lead to a significant increase in hospital admissions and deaths.

“I hope we can keep to that date, but we need to see what the evidence shows.” 

Labour’s Clive Lewis took a more cautious tone, saying the science suggested a delay or local provisions were needed to contain the spread of the virus and avoid another national lockdown.

South Norwich Labour MP Clive Lewis Photo: UK Parliament

South Norwich Labour MP Clive Lewis Photo: UK Parliament - Credit: UK Parliament

He said: "This government is in a very difficult position. It continues to make mistakes since its pathway to relaxing lockdown came about. 

"We understand when you get behind the curve it runs away from you." 

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