Ipswich MP: Why I abstained in lockdown vote

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt in parliament Picture: PARLIAMENT LIVE TV

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt in parliament Picture: PARLIAMENT LIVE TV - Credit: Archant

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has said he was conflicted between his belief in what was best for the town and sympathy for the prime minister’s national position on coronavirus when abstaining in a parliamentary vote on a second lockdown.

In a statement he released after the House of Commons had finished the debate, Mr Hunt said: “I know some of my constituents will agree with the Prime Minister on this difficult decision. But given the consequences of lockdown, I fundamentally couldn’t justify voting for a second national lockdown.

“There is currently no certainty around a Covid vaccine and I fear that once we enter into this second national lockdown it could lead to a spiral of further lockdowns. This is one of the main concerns I had about Labour’s call for a circuit-breaker lockdown.”

MORE: MPs overwhelmingly back second lockdown

He said he had attended meetings with government scientists before the vote and had also conducted a survey online, which showed that 58% of more than 1,000 constituents who took part backed the second lockdown.

And he had received nearly 100 e-mails from constituents on the subject.

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Mr Hunt said: “I am well aware of the threat that Covid -19 poses and the need for action to be taken to prevent its spread but as I’ve said repeatedly over the past few months, it’s critically important to balance the need to protect lives, livelihoods and liberties.

“The reality is that despite the support packages provided by the government, livelihoods have already been destroyed by the restrictions associated with lockdowns and sadly there will be much more hardship that will come as a result of this second lockdown.

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“It’s clear that the prime minister is doing what he believes is best to protect our country in very difficult circumstances.

“And I know that he is acutely aware of the harm that lockdowns cause which is why government has promoted a regional approach to tackling the spread of the virus.

“I know the prime minister has made this decision with nothing other best interests of this country in mind and it’s one that has pained him to take.

“Ordinarily abstaining is not a position I would ever take on such a key issue, and I’m not usually backward in coming forward. But I honestly felt conflicted between an approach I believe to be wrong for my constituency, and my sympathy for the position of the prime minister and the kinds of decisions he has to take at the national level to combat the virus.”

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