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‘Deeply worried about pain of another lockdown’ - Suffolk MPs sign coronavirus restrictions letter

PUBLISHED: 10:14 18 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:47 18 October 2020

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter were among the signatories to the letter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter were among the signatories to the letter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

ARCHANT/HOUSE OF COMMONS/PA WIRE

Suffolk MPs Dr Dan Poulter and Tom Hunt are among 20 who have written to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham urging them “reconsider” calls for a circuit-breaker lockdown.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA WireGreater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

However Mr Burnham, who is arguing with the government over bringing in Tier 3 measures in his region, has rejected the MPs’ calls - saying: “I’m not sure a sort of ‘we’re alright Jack’ letter from a group of southern Conservative MPs is going to cut much ice here.”

MORE: Explained - what do Medium Tier coronavirus rules mean for Suffolk?

The letter warns the Labour politicians of the “severe costs” of a national lockdown in areas of low transmission such as Suffolk, including tens of thousands of jobs in hospitality and leisure.

Sir Keir has called for a three-week lockdown to help reduce the growing coronavirus infection rate across the country.

Dr Dan Poulter MP.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDr Dan Poulter MP. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

However, the letter says: “Given this disparity, it does not make sense to shut down the whole country when the virus is spiking in particular locations.

“Our constituents, like yours, have made many sacrifices to get - and keep - the virus under control in our areas.

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Ipswich MP Tom Hunt. Picture: PARLIAMENT LIVE TVIpswich MP Tom Hunt. Picture: PARLIAMENT LIVE TV

“We are deeply worried about the prospect of having to go through the pain of another national lockdown.

“The devastating facts of the situation are that under either course of action, businesses would close in Manchester, whereas a regional approach offers some protection to businesses in areas of low prevalence.”

The letter continued: “it is very clear to us - and the people we represent - that the local and regional approach is the right response to the current situation.”

MORE: Why Suffolk is not moving to ‘High’ alert Covid status yet

The letter also urges Mr Burnham, to “work with the government to get the virus under control in Greater Manchester, so we can all avoid the pain of another national lockdown.”

However speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Burnham responded by saying: “I would say to them some of them represent constituencies whose cases were higher than ours when we went into national lockdown.

“Anywhere could end up in Tier 3 this winter. In fact, I would say places are likely to end up in Tier 3 this winter, therefore it’s everyone’s concern that we protect the lowest paid in our communities.”


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