Tory MP who signed letter demanding lockdown exit plans wants to "keep PM honest"

27 October 2020, 09:52

By Fiona Jones

Simon Fell was one of the 55 Tory MPs to sign a letter demanding a "clear roadmap" out of lockdown - he told LBC the move is about "keeping the Prime Minister honest" and ensuring he fulfils his promises for the North.

MP for Barrow and Furness Simon Fell is one of the 55 Conservative MPs to sign a letter demanding the Prime Minister to provide a "clear road-map" out of lockdown.

As Warrington is the latest in a string of northern town to enter the toughest Covid restrictions, eight million people face living under Tier Three measures by the end of the week.

LBC's Nick Ferrari spoke to business minister Nadhim Zahawi earlier in the breakfast programme and he said there will be a 28 day review for each area put into the top restriction level.

Mr Fell said, "This is about creating a roadmap and we know about this review process, but if we look across the North in particular, we've seen places that have been stuck in this position for a long time. What we need to see is what steps we need and they might have to be tailored to start getting them out of there."

He told Nick the group of signatories "very supportive of Boris" and recognise that he "won the North because he tapped into something".

The letter is about "keeping the Prime Minister and No10 honest" and making sure he can deliver on his promises.

The MP told Nick that in his own constituency is part in Tier One and Tier Two and it "looks like the measures are working for us" - but in other areas that is "not so clear."

Mr Fell said the Government needs to look at a "far more granular approach for the North", with set short-term targets that the area must hit weekly, for example.

"At the moment, this is creating a really unhelpful narrative for us and this is really hurting our communities," Mr Fell said, stating that he still supports the three tier lockdown system over a national lockdown which would be "devastating for the economy as a whole."

Nick asked whether the North is becoming disenchanted with the Conservatives due to the Government's pandemic handling, after the December election saw around one million habitual Labour voters cast aside their political hue in favour of Boris Johnson.

"I think they want to think us putting our money where our mouth is," Mr Fell said, acknowledging that the new Town Deal announced by the Government today will give his town a regeneration.

He admitted he did not think this was enough to keep his constituency supporting the Tories: "The clear message from my voters to me was they leant me their vote.

"It's about showing we understand the North, and we understand communities like mine have felt left behind - not just for four years but for 40 years.

"We need to start levelling up and what that means is putting the infrastructure in there so that our communities can stand on their own two feet and thrive."