Boris Johnson has told MPs that the departure from lockdown would take time and would not be a “big bang” but a “gradual unpacking” of restrictions.
The prime minister made it clear in a speech to the House of Commons recalled from the Christmas recess that the rise of the highly contagious Covid 19 form means that there is no alternative but to send a new message of stay-at-home.
Johnson told MPs that between spreading the virus and providing vaccines to those most at risk, there is now a race.
This morning, the UK lockout went into effect and MPs would vote tonight on whether to retroactively support it. It is not expected that they will attempt to obstruct the new restrictions.
“Mr. Johnson said, “Not a big bang, but a gradual unpacking would be our release from the lockdown cocoon,” he said.
“That’s why the legislation this House will vote on today will run until March 31, not because we expect the full national lockdown to last until then, but to allow a steady, controlled and evidence-based step down through the tiers on a regional basis.”
The Prime Minister told MPs that the steps will be “continuous review” with a legal duty to review them every two weeks and a legal duty to withdraw them when they are no longer required.
“We are in a tough final phase, and the new version will only make it tougher,”We are in a tough final stage, and the new version will only make it tougher.
“After last year’s marathon, we are now actually in a sprint, a race to vaccinate those at risk faster than the virus can reach them. Every needle in every arm makes a difference.”
The Conservative benches were well attended, in spite of Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s offer to remain away from the chamber and participate remotely. On the other hand, the SNP benches seemed absolutely empty, with most nationalist MPs practically attending the session.
Johnson is under pressure to relax the lockdown as soon as possible from some Conservatives. While some 55 Tory MPs rebelled last month over the tier structure, in tonight’s vote the number is expected to be much smaller.
Nonetheless, former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper, who chairs the Covid Rehabilitation Community [CRG] of the lockout skeptics, called for a “significant relaxation” of restrictions in a newspaper article after the four target classes were immunized.
Another CRG member, Steve Baker, said, “Once the most vulnerable groups are vaccinated, the draconian restrictions must be significantly relaxed.”
In the senate, in late January and February, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Backbench Tories Committee, called for a vote in the House of Commons on whether to continue the limitations.
Johnson made it clear that by the end of March, there would be “considerable scope for easing the restrictions”
The restrictions were endorsed by Sir Keir Starmer, describing the situation in which the nation found itself as’ perhaps the darkest moment of the pandemic.’
He explained, “The virus is out of control, over a million people now have covid in England, the number of hospitalizations is increasing, the number of people dying tragically.”
And it’s just early January and there is a tremendous strain on the NHS. In these circumstances, tougher restrictions are needed.
“We will support them, we will vote for them, and we will urge everyone to comply with the new rules – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.”
But the Labor leader attacked the handling of the pandemic by the government, claiming the third lockdown was “not just bad luck, it’s not inevitable, it follows a pattern” of sluggish response by the government.
For the SNP, Ian Blackford called on the British government to “act in a timely manner” and also indicated that it has been behind the curve in battling the virus repeatedly.
“People in the islands have gone into this new year with a mixture of hope and fear; hope that the vaccine will finally end this terrible pandemic, but also real fear about the increasing cases, hospital admissions and, sadly, lives lost.”
This phase of the pandemic is now a sprint, a race to eradicate the virus and a race to vaccinate our most vulnerable, the Highland Congressman continued, but if we ask people to make one more attempt, if we ask them to spend weeks e