MPs set to vote on second national lockdown in England

4 November 2020, 11:38 | Updated: 4 November 2020, 12:36

Shoppers in Newcastle ahead of a national lockdown for England
Shoppers in Newcastle ahead of a national lockdown for England. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

MPs will vote later on the second national for England as it comes under fire from a number of Tory backbenchers.

If approved, the restrictions will come into force at midnight and run until December 2.

People will be told stay at home and pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will close.

While a number of Conservative MPs have criticised the move, support from the Labour Party means the new measures are set to be approved.

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It comes as Sir Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, revealed there are "22 hospitals' worth" of coronavirus patients in hospitals in England.

Sir Simon said today there had been a "very substantial" increase in Covid-19 admissions in October.

Peter Bone is one of a number of Conservative MPs who has indicated he will rebel against the Government in Wednesday’s Commons vote.

He tweeted: "Today I will vote against a second national lockdown. The government's case is based on dubious modelling. It seems to me there are lies, damn lies and Covid statistics!!"

Tory MP Richard Drax said during a Westminster debate on Tuesday: "Lockdowns, in most people's view, do not work. They simply delay the inevitable.”

He said the Government is pursuing an approach involving a "rollercoaster ride of lockdowns and release" until a vaccine is found, adding: "Last month, the virus was the 19th most common cause of death. Have we overreacted? Yes, I think we have.”

He went on to describe his "huge admiration" for those working in the NHS, before adding: "The Government slogan 'stay home, protect the NHS, save lives' has the wrong emphasis… The NHS is here to protect us and not the other way round."

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Another backbencher, Bob Seely, called for a peer review of the evidence the Government is receiving, noting: "I am personally really concerned that people are losing faith in Government use of data and science."

And Conservative Chris Green spoke of the "somewhat erratic nature" of the Government's approach, explaining his constituency had faced all sorts of national and local restrictions.

He said: "I'm not sure there's been sufficient reflection upon the impact, often devastating impact, on people's lives and livelihoods and education, questions over civil liberties which haven't really been looked into a great deal throughout the course of the pandemic."

It comes after the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said on Tuesday that while the tiered system of lockdown restrictions was working, virus deaths in England were still set to reach those in the first wave by mid-December without stricter measures.