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MP responds to Stroud Labour Party letter

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MP Siobhan Baillie has responded to an open letter sent to Stroud Times from the Stroud Labour Party.

The world according to the Stroud Labour Party is, of course, not the real world, writes Siobhan Baillie.

I’m absolutely appalled that they are willing to try to terrify people for the sake of political game playing.

In the real world, my briefing today(Friday, July 16th) shows that we have 11 people with Covid in Gloucestershire hospitals. Thankfully nobody is in critical care. This is in a population of over 600,000. To open a letter saying ‘People do not have to die. An exit wave is not inevitable’ is extremely irresponsible in the circumstances.

We all know that the vaccine programme is working and is key to saving lives. The leader of the council should be encouraging people to be vaccinated – not dissuage them from bothering to book by saying there is ‘patchy’ availability, which is not borne out by the progress. Two-thirds of the UK population are now vaccinated against Covid twice – one of the best rates in the world. Locally, we are leading in the South West.

Further, it is hugely irresponsible for the Labour Party to be intimating that Covid is to blame for delays at our local A&Es. Our hospitals are doing their best under extremely difficult circumstances and have already addressed the staff shortages. I’ve heard from them today. They are incredible.

Making emotive assertions and playing politics is no substitute for policy. The Government has overseen a difficult period, an incredible vaccine rollout, a comprehensive and cautious road map out of lockdown and now believes the time is right to get back to normal and for people to use their common sense.

While there may be many in the Labour Party who love state control, hand-me-down diktat and to treat people like children – what is absolutely clear is that our local businesses and local people are finding their way through so they can finally live their lives again and look after each other.

A gradual and phased approach allows for caution. Chatting to people here shows that’s exactly what is happening too. Many businesses are using their existing are using their existing risk assessments and experiences to decide what restrictions to keep in place to protect staff and customers. Masks will continue to be worn in crowded places.

This means we can continue to look after vulnerable people with vaccines, booster jabs and respecting each other – while also taking care of the new vulnerable whole have lost income, jobs and health due to being locked down to help others.

The Prime Minister was spot on. If we don’t ease restrictions now, when will we do it? In a few months? Then the Labour Party in Stroud will be crying out: ‘But it’s going to be winter’. It will be a never-ending nightmare.

There is nothing reckless about getting the economy moving, schools full of pupils again and protecting jobs and livelihoods, especially in hospitality and tourism – big sectors here in Stroud. There’s nothing reckless about getting this country off furlough and its finances back under control.

This virus is not going away. We presently have the ability to control its most serious consequences – particularly for the most vulnerable- while living normal lives. That’s a great position to be in. The scaremongering dooming from Labour should stop.’

Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie

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