Steve Baker MP has condemned as “authoritarian” the government throwing 99 per cent of England under Tiers 2 and 3 coronavirus restrictions. Brexit leader Nigel Farage predicts “mass rulebreaking” from the British public.
On Thursday, the government announced that after the second lockdown ends on December 2nd, England will be forced back into regional tiered restrictions ranging from the lowest (Tier 1) to the highest (Tier 3).
Tier 2 severely restricts households mixing, and Tier 3 results in many hospitality businesses either being forced to offer takeaway food services only or close entirely. While there will be a five-day break over Christmas and tier levels will be reviewed on December 16th, the system will be in place until the Spring.
Despite speculation that more parts of the country would be moved up a tier in today’s announcement, lawmakers have reacted with disbelief at the expanse of new conditions from north to south. By population, The Guardian reports, an overwhelming 99 per cent of the country is subject to the top two restrictions. Just the western county of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly off its coast, and the southern Isle of Wight are in Tier 1.
— Election Maps UK (@ElectionMapsUK) November 26, 2020
Brexiteer Steve Baker, a leader of the parliamentary anti-lockdown movement, remarked: “The authoritarianism at work today is truly appalling. But is it necessary and proportionate to the threat from this disease?” Mr Baker then demanded the government “publish their analysis” which influenced what in effect is a continuation of the current lockdown for many parts of the country.
“On the economy and on coronavirus, I fear we are now so far down the rabbit hole that we have forgotten we even entered it,” he added.
Brexit leader Nigel Farage — who is currently relaunching his Brexit Party as Reform UK which seeks to challenge the Tory government’s draconian lockdown laws — predicted that this would prove the moment where public support for restrictions turns.
This is lockdown in all but name. I think that mass rulebreaking is coming.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 26, 2020
“This is lockdown in all but name. I think that mass rulebreaking is coming,” Mr Farage said.
Former Brexit Party MEP Richard Tice said: “The new Tier levels are absurd, based on dodgy data, and unreliable PCR tests compared to Lateral Flow Tests. It will ruin more businesses and destroy thousands of jobs. The whole nation should be in Tier 1.”
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential backbench 1922 Committee, is one of a number of senior MPs already preparing to vote against the law in the House of Commons, and also condemned the measures as “authoritarian”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “I have severe reservations on so many different levels.”
The authoritarianism at work today is truly appalling. But is it necessary and proportionate to the threat from this disease?
— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) November 26, 2020
“I do think that the policies have been far too authoritarian. I think they have interfered in people’s private and personal lives in a way which is unacceptable,” Sir Graham said.
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, said he would be defying the government. He said after learning this his constituency of Bournemouth East had been put in Tier 2: “With only 160 cases per 100,000, I’m puzzled to see us placed in this tier which will cause further hardship for our hospitality industry. I will NOT be supporting the Government’s motion to introduce this next week.”
Conor Burns MP from the neighbouring constituency of Bournemouth West pointed out: “How can you end a four-week lockdown in a worse place in terms of restrictions than before it?”