Following the vote to reintroduce lockdown restrictions in England from 5th November 2020, Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, issued the following statement:
"Firstly, I want to assure residents that I continue to engage with all the available data on this, and that I continue to scrutinise the decisions of the Government wherever possible.
"Various projections now suggest that deaths could reach several thousand a day, with a peak mortality higher than the country saw in April. This requires a national response. And while the situation in our immediate area may be coming under control, there are no guarantees with this virus, especially if household mixing continues.
"This is also about hospital capacity to cope with those who are becoming ill. Even if mortality rates could be kept very low, high rates of illness could result in hospitals running out of capacity to treat people with coronavirus. That would mean those with other illnesses and injuries could not access NHS services.
"That is why I accept the need for these temporary restrictions. This is the only practical step available to address the rapid increase in deaths nationally, and to ensure the full swathe of NHS services are available for those who need them.
"Yes, it is about the most depressing thing that we need another lockdown, especially at this time of year, but there are two potential benefits to taking this action now.
"Firstly, I suspect the reason it has come to this is because some people haven't paid enough attention to the guidance. I think perhaps we got too excited over the summer with the wonderful weather and people started ignoring the rules. We need to reinforce compliance with the regulations, and a new lockdown could do that.
"Secondly, this is a short and sharp intervention, which ensures that a longer lockdown is not needed, as would be the case if action was not taken at this point. This will limit the disruption to the economy, and to our day to day lives.
"Certainly, we should be concerned about the financial impact of this decision. But people and businesses will be supported financially: furlough has been extended, there are further financial grants for businesses and the self-employed, and mortgage holidays have been extended. The Government will always ensure that financial support is in place.
"I also submitted two asks to the Government: for the lockdown to be reduced to 14 days, to reflect self-isolation guidance, and for exemptions for businesses who are abiding by the rules and are considered Covid secure. I will continue to lobby for these suggestions throughout lockdown, as we know how quickly changes can be introduced.
"I appreciate that you may be disappointed with this response, but I believe that we have no better option to control the spread of the virus. We need to act, now. Inaction would only risk our vulnerable population and make a longer lockdown more likely.
"That is why I voted for the new regulations."