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Nottinghamshire County Council leader, the Mansfield MP, to vote against government covid restrictions in parliament tomorrow



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The county council leader who is also an MP said he will vote against the government’s new covid restrictions and believes re-introducing further measures is a slippery slope.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Ben Bradley, who is the Mansfield MP, is one of a number of backbench Conservative MPs speaking out after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Plan B last week to tackle a rise in covid cases and the threat of the omicron variant.

New measures mean working from home if you can from today (Monday) and the wearing of masks in most indoor public spaces including theatres and cinemas from Friday.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Ben Bradley.
Nottinghamshire County Council leader Ben Bradley.

From Wednesday, if tomorrow's vote in parliament is passed, people will need to use their NHS Covid Pass to prove their vaccination status or a negative lateral flow test for entry to venues such as nightclubs.

There will also be daily tests for contacts of people suffering from the omicron variant, rather than isolation.

Speaking with the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Bradley said he could not support the measures.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Ben Bradley.
Nottinghamshire County Council leader Ben Bradley.

He said he believes there is no evidence to suggest the need for tighter restrictions in response to the omicron variant and described measures like vaccine passports and mandatory jabs as restricting peoples’ freedoms.

Professor Chris Whitty, the country’s Chief Medical Officer, said omicron was doubling every two to three days, which is much faster than the previous delta variant with evidence in South Africa showing a big increase in hospital admissions once the new strain takes hold.

Mr Bradley said: “I don’t see how you can justify restrictions ‘just in case’, and if that’s going to be your argument, how long does that go on for, and how many times do we go along this loop?

“I worry it’s a bit of a slippery slope. Precautions are one thing but when you start to restrict peoples’ freedoms, like with vaccine passports, you need pretty good data and evidence to support it.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to get their jabs. Picture: Kirsty O’Connor/PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to get their jabs. Picture: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

“There are clearly risks and there always will be risks for as long as there is covid, but we can’t keep turning the taps on and off.”

Mr Johnson announced last night a new drive to get every adult over 18 boosted with their third coronavirus vaccine amid what he called a tidal wave of infections. He hopes most adults can be fully vaccinated by the end of January.

The new measures come alongside the backdrop of Christmas parties allegedly being held in Downing Street last year when the country was under strict covid rules.

The Prime Minister has faced questions on a party allegedly held in 10 Downing Street on December 18 last year, at the same time Nottinghamshire and London was under strict Tier 3 rules and when indoor gatherings were banned.

Mr Johnson confirmed an investigation will be run by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

Commenting on the alleged parties, Mr Bradley said: “The rules apply equally to staff in Downing Street as they do for the public.

“You can get into the debate of was it a work meeting, did it have wine or was it a party? It’s almost irrelevant.

“What really bugs me is people in that position in Number 10, in that office and with that level of trust, should know better.

“I don’t think there will be a choice but to follow whatever the recommendations end up being in the Cabinet Secretary’s report, because anything else would be outrageous.”

On whether he thinks it will deter the public from following the new measures, he added: “This last week has been awful.

“This debate of the parties and the rules being broken makes us, as MPs, just as angry as members of the public.

“It reflects on us whether we were there or not, so I’m just as frustrated by it as everyone else and it certainly doesn’t help when it comes to telling people to change their daily routines.”

Mr Bradley said he does not believe the controversy would threaten Boris Johnson’s position as Prime Minister.

MPs are expected to vote on the new restrictions tomorrow (Tuesday).



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