South Shields MP cautions against local lockdowns and demands Parliament has say on roadmap

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has strongly cautioned against local lockdowns and demanded Parliament has a say over any changes to the roadmap for lifting covid restrictions amid concerns over the Indian coronavirus variant.

By Ross Robertson
Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:31 pm
Emma Lewell-Buck MP
Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously warned the rise in cases of the highly transmissible variant of concern could risk the next stage of England’s road map out of lockdown, pencilled in for June 21, being delayed.

The Prime Minister said on May 18 there is no “conclusive” evidence to deviate from the road map out of lockdown despite concerns over the Indian variant.

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If outbreaks are limited, Ministers could opt instead to push ahead with the reopening while keeping some areas under restrictions in an echo of the controversial tiers system introduced in 2020.

But Ms Lewell-Buck has rejected the notion.

Posting on Twitter, she said: “Local lockdowns don’t work, they lead to national lockdowns. People will not tolerate anymore of this or the Govt trying to blame individual behaviours for the spread of the Indian variant. It is the PMs inaction on travel restrictions that have allowed this spread.

“Any changes to the roadmap must be debated and voted on in Parliament.”

The Prime Minister said the “wall of defences” built up by the vaccination programme meant there was nothing conclusive at present to say make deviation from the roadmap necessary.

But, he added: “We’ve got to be cautious and we are keeping everything under very close observation.

“We’ll know a lot more in a few days’ time.”

Mr Johnson said data from hotspots including Bolton, Blackburn, Bedford and Sefton were being examined to find out more about the impact of the variant.

Asked whether local lockdowns could be used, Mr Johnson said: “We’ve just got to be cautious about the way we approach it and we will be letting people know as much as we can, as soon as we can.

“But at the moment we don’t see anything conclusive that makes us think we have to deviate from the road map.”

Earlier, Cabinet minister George Eustice had said local lockdowns “would be an option and we cannot rule anything out”.

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