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‘It seems we are being punished’ - MPs react to Boris Johnson’s latest coronavirus restrictions

PUBLISHED: 16:54 22 September 2020

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

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MPs in Suffolk have spoken of the need to balance public health concerns over Covid-19 with the impact of restrictions on the economy - with one saying: “It seems we are being punished.”

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge. Picture: OFFICE OF JAMES CARTLIDGESouth Suffolk MP James Cartlidge. Picture: OFFICE OF JAMES CARTLIDGE

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s latest restrictions came only a day after infection rate figures in Suffolk were revealed to be dropping.

Despite this, the new rules will affect Suffolk just as much as other parts of the UK - where case numbers are higher and rising.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said he was frustrated by the prime minister’s announcement.

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Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONSPeter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

“It seems we are being punished for irresponsible people in other parts of the country,” said Mr Hunt.

“The overall majority of my constituents have done what they can to help.

“I think that’s why we are doing well.”

Mr Hunt said he would be asking the government further questions about the implications of the new rules.

“We need to protect lives,” said Mr Hunt.

“But we also need to protect livelihoods and liberties.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he had tried made clear to the government that good work had been done in Suffolk and Norfolk to help keep rates low - even with the outbreak at Banham Poultry.

“Over the last six months, the NHS locally and the councils in Suffolk have handled the impact very well,” said Mr Aldous.

“So I thought we could have done well with local arrangements.

“That’s the point I made to the government.”

However, Mr Aldous said he understood Mr Johnson’s position.

“To be fair on the prime minister, it is with a heavy heart that he came forward with these restrictions,” said Mr Aldous.

“This is not a full lockdown though. We are not going back to where we were in March.”

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, said that despite falling infections rates in Suffolk, the situation elsewhere had left the prime minister with a tough balancing act.

“We have to balance the equation,” said Mr Cartlidge.

“A sensible, balanced approach with some restriction is reasonable in the circumstances.

“We now need to see what impact they will have on things going forward.”

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: “We have been lucky that throughout the pandemic, Suffolk - and rural Suffolk in particular - has seen many fewer Covid infections than the rest of the country.

“However, as infections start to rise nationally, it is only a matter of time before Suffolk also sees a rise in new cases.

“So it is important that we all pull together to minimise the spread of the virus during what is going to be an extremely challenging autumn and winter ahead.”


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