Thank you for contacting me after the news that the Government has taken the decision to implement further COVID- 19 measures via their Plan B.
Throughout the pandemic, I have always put public health before party politics and will continue to do so.
In the last few weeks, it has become irrefutable that Omicron is a clear threat and steps must be taken to limit its spread. I, therefore, joined my Labour colleagues in supporting the increased safety precautions that have been proposed by the Government.
Recent events have highlighted that it’s more important than ever to get Britain boosted to protect our NHS and save lives. The arrival of the worrying new variant is a reminder that the pandemic is not over. And vaccines are the best weapon in our fight.
Consequently, I firmly believe that vaccines are the most effective public health intervention against COVID-19, both to protect people against the virus and to enable restrictions to be lifted.
Vaccines teach the body’s immune system to recognise and fight the infection they have been designed to protect against. Approval is only given if the UK regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – is satisfied that the vaccine is both safe and effective. It is clear from the existing data that vaccines have an overwhelmingly positive impact on helping to fight this disease, and the death toll would be far higher if it wasn’t for their use.
The plan also includes the use of Vaccine Passes for large events.
I have always said that that the use of Covid vaccination status alone would be costly and impractical. And being double jabbed doesn’t prove you aren’t carrying the virus. I also believe Ministers must do everything possible to avoid a two-tier society in which those who are not vaccinated are blocked from essential services
That’s why we called on the government to include an option to present a negative lateral flow test as an alternative to vaccination status. We have also been given assurances to ensure covid-19 status certification isn’t required for access to essential services.
Unfortunately due to mismanagement by this government, the rise in cases has become inevitable. If we had maintained sensible safety measures we would likely have far fewer cases today.
For example, the government should never have scrapped mandatory mask wearing and we’ve always said people should have the flexibility to work from home. We also need to see action to keep children in school. Infections are high and far too few children have had their vaccination. We have also seen failures in ventilation, which is leaving children learning in freezing classrooms. And we still need to see improved sick pay for workers so that nobody has to choose between feeding their family and doing the right thing and isolating.
At the same time, the actions of this Prime Minister have undermined public trust and distracted from key public health messaging at a critical time. Serious times call for serious leadership and it is clear that he isn’t up to the job. The Prime Minister has lost the moral authority to ask people to stick to the rules. This is a basic issue of leadership – the PM has failed.
In short, I want to ensure that everyone can enjoy Christmas safely this year, while also protecting our NHS – which has been suffering a staffing shortage and record waiting lists since before the pandemic hit, thanks to 11 years of Conservative government. Due to a catalogue of poor decisions, the Government has created a situation that has forced the increased use of safety measures. While I will be supporting Plan B, I will continue to hold the Government accountable for its actions.
Thank you again for contacting me and expressing your views. I absolutely understand your anger at the Governments poor decision making over the past months and your lack of faith in the Prime Minister.
I will continue to follow this situation closely and react appropriately as we move forward.