Thursday 7 January 2021


The latest version of lockdown in England was emphatically endorsed in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening following a debate that timed perfectly with the announcement of record Covid figures.  62,322 new cases were reported (coinciding with a sharp increase in testing) while a daily death toll of 1,041 was the first live announcement of 1,000+ deaths (1,000+ Covid deaths were retroactively designated for several days in April).

Despite all the lockdown measures put in place across much of the UK throughout the winter months - along with the vaccine roll-out - the UK has now somehow retaken the macabre lead for European deaths.  Keir Starmer and co will be pleased to know that once again the UK has overtaken Italy for the total number of Covid-related deaths.  However, let's not forget that here many deaths are ascribed as Covid regardless of whether or not the individual has died of the illness, hence the huge get-out clause of 'deaths within 28 days of a positive test'.

How long our governments can get away with these debilitating measures remains to be seen, but fear is clearly rife again.  In the last lockdown vote Boris Johnson suffered the biggest rebellion of his premiership with more than fifty backbench MPs voting against his measures.  On Wednesday the rebels were reduced to a mere twelve.

The brave dozen (plus two tellers) can be seen below.  Remember them - for when the economic, social and political consequences of all this begin to bite, we can remind Keir Starmer that not one of his MPs opposed this disastrous, discredited and futile policy.

A further 25 Conservative MPs abstained, including Theresa May and the six Scottish Tories for whom the vote was not relevant.

All but six Labour MPs backed the measures, including all the party's MPs in Wales and Scotland.  The six who abstained or failed to vote were Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark), Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch), Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields), John Spellar (Warley), Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton) and Derek Twigg (Halton).

Despite the Commons vote not affecting Northern Ireland, four of the eight DUP MPs voted against the measures.  The other four did not vote.  In the last lockdown vote all eight opposed the measures.