Ipswich’s Tom Hunt backs anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group of Conservative MPs

PUBLISHED: 16:56 17 November 2020

Tom Hunt, Ipswich MP, is planning to raise cladding cases affecting his constituency in Parliament Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tom Hunt, Ipswich MP, is planning to raise cladding cases affecting his constituency in Parliament Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has backed an anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group of Conservative backbenchers calling for no further national shutdowns amid the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Hunt said he is not one of the leaders of the group formed by former chief whip Mark Harper and the chairman of the Tories’ backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady - but does expect to go to some of its meetings.

MORE: Tom Hunt outlines concerns about second lockdown

His main aim is to ensure that, at the end of the current lockdown, Ipswich emerges in as strong a position as possible.

Mr Hunt said: “I know figures in Ipswich have been rising in recent weeks, although they have fallen back a bit over the last few days, but they are still well below the national average and it would not be right to treat us all the same.

“I am very concerned about the economic viability of retailers and of the hospitality sector – and I do not think there is compelling evidence to suggest they are key factors in the spread of the virus.

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“That is why I do not support the 10pm closing time for pubs – and I did not vote in favour of the current lockdown.”

He does not know what is likely to happen when the current lockdown finishes – and what tier people in Suffolk and Ipswich might find themselves in.

However, he hopes the government will recognise there are significant differences in infection rates across the country.

“The East of England – Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire - all have significantly lower infection rates than the country as a whole.

“I think the indications are that if there are specific restrictions they would on a county or regional basis, not just Ipswich.”

The Covid Recovery Group was set up to challenge any future lockdowns and to seek to persuade the government to listen to other voices - as well as scientific experts on its SAGE committee who, they say, had taken a very cautious approach to fighting the pandemic.

However ministers, including prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock, have insisted that the second lockdown was necessary because infection rates were continuing to grow.

They argued that, without urgent action, there was a danger that the NHS would be overwhelmed with Covid cases during the winter – meaning hospitals would be unable to deal with other urgent conditions.

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