Second lockdown ‘would be catastrophic’, Tobias Ellwood tells LBC

20 September 2020, 13:13 | Updated: 20 September 2020, 13:58

Tobias Ellwood spoke to Tom Swarbrick on LBC
Tobias Ellwood spoke to Tom Swarbrick on LBC. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood MP told Swarbrick on Sunday that a second national lockdown “would be catastrophic for Britain”.

Mr Ellwood told Tom the situation was not the same as March: “We are in a different place, all of us are treating this with much more discipline. We’re wearing our masks, we’re doing our social distancing much better and this is now hitting a different age profile.”

He added: “We need to be better at learning how to live with this pandemic, but making sure our economy can continue to go.

“A lockdown, a national lockdown, would be catastrophic for Britain.”

The Defence Select Committee Chair said Whitehall was overwhelmed by the number of issues it was dealing with and “operational delivery needs to perhaps be passed to a different group of people, rather than policy people, who have no experience in running crises”.

He called for greater involvement for the military in the UK’s Covid response, describing them as “the best strategic planners we have in the country”, but suggested there was a “stigma attached to them being in the room”.

Read more: Calls to bring in the army to sort out 'testing chaos'

Mr Ellwood’s intervention comes as businesses warn of wipeout if a national lockdown returns.

Pub chains and devolved leaders are demanding action and warning they face the perfect storm of fresh national curbs combined with the winding down of the furlough scheme at the end of October.

It comes after Boris Johnson warned the UK is “now seeing a second wave” of Covid-19, adding it was “inevitable” that it would arrive. Some 13.5 million Britons are already in local lockdown.

Read more: Tory MP: Many businesses will 'never reopen' if second national lockdown

The Prime Minister said he wanted to avoid another national shutdown, but it is understood he is considering national restrictions on a par with the North East - where pubs and restaurants must now abide by a 10pm to 5am curfew - or a more extensive “circuit break” lockdown with only essential travel to schools and workplaces allowed.