Thank you for your email about the national lockdown in England.
Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on 31 October, I have received many emails from concerned constituents who have shared with me with their fears about what another national lockdown will mean for them and their loved ones.
I understand that people have strong views on this issue, and I understand why.
For many months, our freedom to meet with friends and family, to attend cultural and social events, and to travel without constraint across the UK and beyond has been restricted. Life as we know it has had to change and the sacrifices many people have had to make in order to slow the spread of the virus have been immeasurable.
The number of people who have lost their jobs or struggled to keep their businesses afloat during this time has been devastating. There has also been a very real and very rapid decline in the mental health of people across the country.
From the time the pandemic was declared and still now, the Labour Party have always sought to act in a way that both protects our human rights and prevents unnecessary deaths. That is why we voted in favour of the four-week national lockdown in England.
Labour had been calling on the government to impose a two-to-three week “circuit breaker” lockdown since 13 October. We believe that it is right that we follow scientific advice, which is why we urged the government to use the half-term holiday in England to fix testing, protect our NHS and save lives. The government refused to listen and instead of getting a grip on the virus, they have lost control of it. We have all been let down by this Tory government and we must now all live with the consequences of their incompetence.
Labour are very clear that the government must not waste this four-week lockdown. Expanding testing and fixing contact tracing must now be the priority. The government must use this second lockdown to ramp up community testing because that is the only way we can protect jobs, restore confidence in the economy, and keep ourselves and our families safe. At the same time, the government must provide adequate support for affected businesses and individuals, and ensure that nobody is left behind this time around.
I understand that this lockdown will be hard on all of us, but we must not lose sight of why it is necessary. We cannot stand back and allow thousands of people to die from COVID-19 this winter. We cannot allow our NHS to become overwhelmed, therefore we must continue to abide by the Coronavirus restrictions.
Please be assured that Labour will continue to hold the Tories to account for their abysmal response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. Thank you again for contacting me about this important subject. Please do not hesitate to get back in touch if you have any further points you would like to raise, or you require help from myself and my team.
The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury