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

20 September 2020, 11:22 | Updated: 20 September 2020, 12:02

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown on potential second lockdown

By Joe Cook

Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has told Swarbrick on Sunday he fears if businesses have to close for a second time because of a rise in Covid-19 cases, “many of them will never reopen”.

Sir Geoffrey called on the Government to continue with local lockdowns, rather than implementing a second national lockdown, which would significantly harm the economy.

But the Treasurer of the 1922 Committee told Tom: “If we shut down the whole economy - and bearing in mind I was one of the first people to call for us to come out of lockdown, because of the economic situation, because of businesses, because of jobs - we really have to be careful about that.”

His intervention comes as reports suggest Number 10 could introduce a so-called "circuit break" across the UK in October, implementing a two week national lockdown to slow the second wave that Boris Johnson has conceded is now hitting the country.

While acknowledging the country is in “a very grave moment in the present situation”, Sir Geoffrey told LBC: “We do know a lot more about this disease than when we first locked down.

“I think the intelligent way to go forward is to have a really strong area-by-area approach.

“Areas like the South West, which at the moment mostly we don’t have a very high incidence, it would be crazy to shut us down, because tourists, businesses are just beginning to reopen and if they are shut down again my fear is that many of them will never reopen.”

Some have looked to Sweden, where no national lockdown was enforced and shops, bars, restaurants were allowed to remain open. The Nordic nation has a fortnightly case rate of just 22.2 per 100,000, compared to 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK.

However, former Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Sir David King, told Tom that without a functioning testing system in the UK cases would continue to rise.

“The background to this is our testing and trace system has broken down completely”, Sir David said, “if this continues, the only possibility is, I’m afraid, a second lockdown.”

Sir David blamed the testing problems on “the decision to go to private companies that had no experience in healthcare”, saying this move “was simply wrong”.

“In the middle of a crisis, a pandemic, the worst we have had for a 100 years, we start creating new companies to attempt to deal with the crisis at a very high level.

“We couldn’t manage that and that has been proved over the last six months. We are rattling away at a process that has been proved to fail.”

The testing system “has to be rebuilt based on tried and tested local national health service and public health structures”, the former Chief Scientific Advisor said.

“These are already in place, it splits the job up down to every local GP and that becomes a doable scale. If we continue to operate through newly formed companies that are operating at a distance, it will not work. That has been tested and it has failed.”

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

A sister has described the moment she punched a crocodile to save her sister.

'I wasn't going to leave her behind': Twin recalls punching crocodile to save sister

Susan Hall has dismissed Ed Miliband's claim that she would be an 'embarrassment' to Britain as the next London mayor.

Susan Hall dismisses as 'nonsense’ after Ed Miliband said she would be an ‘embarrassment’ as London Mayor

UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's deputy tells LBC, amid warning members have 'neglected defence'

UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's Deputy General tells LBC, as he warns Russia 'cannot be trusted'

Emma Webber (left) speaking to LBC

Mother of Nottingham attack victim Barnaby Webber blasts police ‘mistruths’ after force is put in special measures

Lord Harrington said there should be a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes.

Former refugees minister Lord Harrington calls for a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes

Mel Stride has backed the PM

Rishi Sunak has 'absolutely not' betrayed nation over Rwanda plan, insists minister after Braverman's attack on PM

Tom and caller

'Our family is there': Mother shares heartbreaking experience of being a British Jew during Israel-Hamas conflict

The ban will be brought into effect in months

'Children should be in the classroom to learn': Gillian Keegan orders 'blanket ban' of mobile phones in schools

Tributes have been paid to Elianne after she was stabbed to death in Croydon

Fellow pupil of schoolgirl stabbed to death in Croydon describes heartbreaking moment students were told of her killing

Scotland's first safe drug consumption space set to be openned

'Isn't this just decriminalising heroin?': Tom Swarbrick questions Labour MSP over first safe drug consumption room

The education secretary discusses educational reforms with Tom Swarbrick

Shadow education secretary says 'Building Schools for the Future Programme' would have prevented Raac crisis

Tom Swabrick

'Is it not completely mental?': Tom Swarbrick astonished as schools shut due to crumble-risk concrete before new term

Exam results

Equation sheets given to GCSE cohort in attempt lessen reduced grade inflation blow, schools minister says

Crime commentator on Adam Provan

Internal review of rapist ex-Met officer is the equivalent of 'marking your own homework', says crime commentator

Education Secretary discuss new Eton free schools on LBC

‘Bailed out by Eton’: Education Secretary discusses new free schools with Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick