Delay to lockdown 'right thing to do' say MPs, but we can't hold off forever
- Credit: PA/Sarah Lucy Brown/House of Commons
Suffolk MPs have welcomed the decision not to lift all social restrictions on June 21, but say the final stage of the roadmap can't be delayed forever.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the news this evening that the lifting of all restrictions will not go ahead on June 21 as planned, pushing it back by four weeks.
It comes after a rise in hospitalisations and deaths due to the Kent and Indian variants of coronavirus being more transmissible.
Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, said though the delay was probably "inevitable", it was both the "cautious and right thing to do".
"I do agree with the government's decision," he added. "However there is a general view that there comes a time when we have to return to normality and take the plunge.
"I think that time must be no later than July 19."
MP for Ipswich Tom Hunt also backed the decision and said he was "disappointed" that the country was not able to meet all the conditions needed to lift all restrictions.
He said: "I hope we can do something within two weeks and be ready to unlock then and I am absolutely of the view we need to learn to live with coronavirus.
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"The great thing about the vaccine programme is it has brought the prospect of having normal back, not a 'new normal' but complete normality."
The prime minister said there would be chance to unlock after a two-week delay rather than four if substantial progress was made.
Mr Hunt expressed sympathy for Ipswich businesses which were relying on June 21 as the date of lockdown easing once and for all, but said it is essential not to slide backwards after all the progress made in the last few months.
He was also pleased for constituents who have suffered 18 months of "heartache" while waiting for their wedding day, after it was revealed weddings will be able to have over 30 guests from June 21 onward.
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and north Ipswich, said it was both "prudent and sensible" to delay, given how transmissible the Indian and Kent variants of Covid-19 are.
"It seems sensible not to give up the progress we have already made over the last few months as I'd hate for the virus to spread and for us to go backwards," he added.