East Anglia’s MPs back second lockdown to stop rising Covid-19 infections

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said the lockdown was necessary to protect the N

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said the lockdown was necessary to protect the NHS. Picture: OFFICE OF DR DAN POULTER MP - Credit: Archant

The vast majority of East Anglian MPs look set to vote in favour of a second coronavirus lockdown in Parliament this week.

Prime minister Boris Johnson was already expected to easily win Wednesday’s vote in the House of Commons, because it will not be opposed by Labour.

However, there is some concern about the lockdown among his own backbenchers - and some have said they plan to rebel.

MORE: Prime Minister announces second lockdown

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter was one of a number of parliamentarians with a medical background who was briefed over the weekend.

He said: “There was a real hope that areas like this, where the infection rates have not been as high, could have avoided this - but it is clear that cases are rising here as well and action has to be taken to protect the NHS.

“I have spoke to [Ipswich and Colchester hopsitals chief executive] Nick Hulme and at present Ipswich Hospital is able to cope – but we have to make sure that it is not overwhelmed by increasing demand from Covid patients.”

Dr Poulter believes the wet weather in October encouraged people to meet indoors, rather than outside – and it is much easier for the virus to spread indoors.

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North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin told the House of Commons: “Can I thank the prime minister for the bitter medicine he has had to deliver over the last few days and can I assure him I will support his measures because nobody has put forward a viable immediate alternative that would avoid the overwhelming of the NHS.”

But he said the government needed to strengthen public confidence in the battle against Covid.

He called for a clear pathway of how we could live with the disease through a combination of vaccines and testing.

He also called for a change to the leadership of the test, track and trace regime.

MORE: Ipswich council’s Labour leader attacks lockdown delay

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, who is also an aide to chancellor Rishi Sunak, said: “I know how desperate the prime minister was to avoid a second lockdown and stick with the regional strategy – but in the end the figures were rising too fast and this has had to happen.”

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