Gainsborough MP backs local tier three restrictions following health minister's guarantee of early review

Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh joined most of his Greater Lincolnshire colleagues in voting to support the Government’s latest three-tier lockdown, claiming he had received guarantees the area’s status would be reviewed at the earliest opportunity.

53 Conservative MPs voted against the new system of restrictions in Parliament on Tuesday, December 1, making it the Prime Minister’s biggest rebellion to date. Lincoln MP Karl McCartney was the only county representative to object.

At the start of a seven-hour debate in the House of Commons, Mr Leigh said: “In the week up to November 25, Market Rasen ward had six cases and is to go to tier three; East Ham ward in London had 40 cases and is to go into tier two.”

He went on to ask the Prime Minister for “an absolute personal commitment that he and the Secretary of State for Health will look personally at the case of Lincolnshire and do their level best to get us out of tier three by Christmas.”

Health minister Matt Hancock provided a written guarantee that Lincolnshire district's will have Covid restrictions reviewed on December 16.

PM Boris Johnson did not initially offer such specific reassurance, saying only: “We will look in as much granular detail as we can at the incidence throughout the country.”

Trying to satisfy other MPs’ similar concerns, Mr Johnson said: “This is not another lockdown nor is this the renewal of existing measures in England [but] we cannot afford to relax.”

He added that everyone “will be free to leave their homes for any reason” once the tier system is enforced.

The PM also said he appreciated “people’s feelings of injustice” but “there is an end in sight.”

However, later in the afternoon, while the debate was ongoing, Mr Leigh declared on Twitter that: “The Health Secretary has written to me today guaranteeing that Lincolnshire’s tier status will be reviewed in two weeks’ time — and that areas within the county will be assessed individually rather than just Lincolnshire as a whole.”

In the Commons, he added: “How can I vote against this measure tonight when there is no alternative plan—when the result of my vote tonight is that frail and vulnerable people will die? That would be the effect.”

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