Mr Dep. Speaker, in 2017, the WHO’s Pandemic Influenza Risk Management Guidance, emphasised that ‘any emergency measures….be necessary, reasonable and proportional’.
I fear the measures we are being asked to vote on today, are none of those things.
I was elected to represent my constituents in Romford – and I pay tribute to them for their resilience throughout this pandemic, but I cannot justify such a fundamental assault on their liberties and livelihoods.
Removing people’s most fundamental rights and freedoms and confining them to their homes, is a political decision, and those of us who are elected, must judge, not just the impact of the virus, but also on our constituent’s livelihoods, businesses, jobs, education, homes and indeed their physical and mental health.
We are constantly told by the governing, scientific and media class, that we must shutdown our country, and that people must surrender their most basic freedoms, to save lives.
Yet those countries that have followed strict ‘lockdown’ strategies, have not all been successful at achieving this aim.
There is no member of this House that does not want to save lives and from the bottom of my heart, I thank the NHS personnel at Queens Hospital in Romford, who have done a magnificent job in saving lives and caring for the sick.
But there has to be balance and proportionality to the decisions we make, taking into account the long term consequences on the lives of the people we represent.
I fear the impact of these shutdowns on those who run small businesses;
On the 50,000 Britons with undiagnosed cancer, as estimated by MacMillan Cancer support;
On the elderly – who have been cut off from their loved ones in the last years of their lives;
On the children from the poorest backgrounds who will fall behind as a result of schools closing; and the victims of increased domestic violence and suicide.
The scientific advisors will never need to account for the effects of lockdowns on our constituents, but we will.
The ‘shutdown’ we are voting on today and the effects of these measures, whilst well intended, may I fear, do more damage to the lives of the British people in the long term, than the pandemic itself.
I believe a complete re-think of this policy must now be take place.
Our country cannot go on like this.