Dan Wootton: I'm amazed how little coverage the vote to extend Covid lockdown has received
It’s amazing to me how little coverage last night’s vote to extend the current lockdown and push back Freedom Day by a month has received.
Once again, as has been the case throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the opposition was not provided by the Labour party, although six of their MPs defied Keir Starmer.
It was the 49 backbench Conservative MPs who rebelled and voted against the extension who represented the only real opposition.
It’s important to note these MPs come from all wings of the Tory party and not all of them have been opposed to the concept of lockdowns.
As Quentin Letts put it in The Times: “Newbies and moderates and Remainers and even a man from Covid-flattened Bolton made angry, despairing, quivery-lipped speeches against Johnson’s cancellation of Freedom Day.”
I think it’s important to share some of their words about why restrictions should not continue beyond this 21 June.
Chris Green, the MP for Bolton West and former ministerial aide, said: “When the prime minister refers to a terminus, I fear he doesn’t mean the end, I fear he’s thinking more of a bus terminus where we end one journey to start another and there will be another vehicle to impose another lockdown extension.”
Mark Harper, the former government chief whip, said: “My worry, and the worry of others, is we’re going to get to this point in four weeks’ time and we’re just going to be back here all over again extending the restrictions.”
Former minister Karen Bradley said: “Life is about the joy that you can get from occasions and events. We are constantly being told we can’t have that joy because it will impact on the science.”
Miriam Cates said: “The idea we are still in a state of emergency just isn’t supported by the evidence.”
Tim Loughton said: “I’m done with making excuses to my constituents for when their lives might just get back to some degree of normality.”
Richard Drax added: “What on earth is happening to our country? Muzzled, acquiescent and fearful.”
Former Prime Minister Theresa May, who has also been highly critical of the ongoing regulations, chose to abstain alongside 12 other Tories.
This is not a group of cranks and their arguments deserve to be heard and debated.
As we spoke about on the show last night, even the left-wing US states New York and California are celebrating a great unlock and restoring freedoms to the fully vaccinated.