Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie has voted against the Government over the pause in the lockdown road map and told MPs in Parliament it is time “to trust the people”.
49 Conservatives and six Labour MPs voted against the delay of ‘Freedom Day’ until July 19 – while another two Tories counted the ‘no’ votes.
England’s current lockdown laws will last until midnight on Sunday, July 18.
Siobhan said the UK was the “cradle of freedom” and that Parliament had for eight centuries protected the rights and liberties of the British people.
“I, together with many others in this place, have been deeply troubled by the temporary restrictions that we have asked the British people to observe and the sacrifices we have asked them to make,” she told the House of Commons yesterday.
“I have supported every Covid decision to date with a clear sight of the need to tackle the virus that was rampaging through Gloucestershire and the UK, when hospitalisations and Covid deaths were a serious daily threat. My heart continues to go out to everybody who has lost loved ones.
“However, we are in a very different situation now, and I cannot support a confused further delay of the road map in these circumstances. Now is the time to trust the British people. We must trust them to continue acting with caution, and we must trust them to make choices to protect the health of their friends, family and loved ones.”
Siobhan said she was proud of how the people and businesses of Stroud, the Valleys and Vale have supported their neighbours and volunteered.
She explained that vaccine take up was high in Stroud with approximately 87% of people vaccinated for the first time and 55% fully vaccinated and now only three people are in hospital in Gloucestershire with Covid.
“At a time when our hospitals are nowhere near overwhelmed by Covid and we are told we need to learn to live with the virus, it is only right that we now look to protect the others from the impact of restrictions.
“To dismiss this delay as only being four weeks is disrespectful. These weeks are crucial for many, but not least for businesses that invested money and hope in being able to trade viably next week. For those in the hospitality, entertainment, weddings, exercise and travel sectors, these summer weeks follow a lost summer last year, and they cannot be made up over the autumn and winter months.”
She said that being involved in trying to help the wedding industry has led her to oppose the extension.
“Months of work, evidence gathering and sensible suggestions were swept aside by health officials at the last minute without explanation and against a backdrop of thousands of people hugging at the football and the cricket.
“Why reject testing, like we have in sporting events, and then make a father wear a mask walking his daughter down the aisle? He will eat a maskless dinner with her later that day.
“What have we come to when the Government are banning dance floors? I am equally confuzzled by banning singing in churches. Our predominantly double-jabbed congregations just want to sing to God—let them sing.”
Siobhan acknowledged the difficult decisions that need to be made.
The difficulties facing our government are extraordinary, and I sincerely respect those on both sides of the House who have different views,” she told MPs.
“I have the utmost respect for the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary but with the welfare of Stroud firmly in my mind, I say that now is the time for us to trust the people and give them their freedom day.”