Norfolk MPs have their say ahead of vote on Covid tiers

Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture PA.

Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Two Norfolk MPs have spoken out ahead of a crucial tier system vote set to take place later today.

It comes ahead of tonight's (Tuesday, December 1) Commons vote on a new toughened system of tiered coronavirus controls for England – with Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP all set to abstain. 

Although the government is expected to win the vote on the new rules, scores of unhappy Conservative MPs are likely to throw Tory divisions into sharp relief. 

Duncan Baker, the Conservative MP for North Norfolk, has previously spoken out over his disappointment at Norfolk being placed in Tier 2, but argued that keeping everyone as safe as possible was his primary aim, and for that reason, he would support the vote.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said he was getting emails daily from constituents about a lack of tests. Picture: Supplied...

MP for North Norfolk, Duncan Baker - Credit: Archant

He said: "Since the release of the tier structure, I have been disappointed that Norfolk is in Tier 2 when there's a real case we could go into Tier 1.

"However, I recognise that we are coming out of a national lockdown and I have always preferred us to be in a localised tier system rather than a lockdown. So that is a positive step, albeit we are in a stricter set of restrictions than I would have liked. 

"It is important that public safety is upheld as we have seen in other countries, such as Italy, Spain, the US, and even Wales yesterday, it is still an incredibly delicate position [to control the virus].

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"And in north Norfolk, although cases are still reasonably low, we are not immune from seeing what is happening in other parts of the country."

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, echoed Mr Baker's concerns over public safety but said he would abstain from the vote.

South Norwich Labour MP Clive Lewis Photo: UK Parliament

MP for Norwich South, Clive Lewis - Credit: UK Parliament

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"This government has a dreadful big picture record on Covid," he said.

"There is no feasible way to save jobs, small businesses and the livelihoods of the self-employed without adequately dealing with Covid.

"Right now, it would be irresponsible to let up on efforts to conquer the disease. That's the main reason I don't want to take the risk of the rules not passing and why I'm not voting against the government's proposed tiering system.

"However, there are still huge problems with inadequate support for people and businesses.

"And as so many other countries have already shown, you can't effectively get to grips with the disease if you don't have an effective system for testing, tracing, and isolating.

"Until we get that right here in the UK, we'll be continually running to stand even the slightest chance of standing still.

"The government shows no sign of addressing any of this in [it's] proposals so I won't be voting for them either."

The result of the vote is expected at about 7pm. 

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