Following votes earlier this week to introduce new restrictions, Giles released the following statement:
"On the so called “Plan B” rules, I am relaxed at needing to return to mask wearing as we assess the risk of this new variant – after all, it is no great imposition, and we must never return to lockdown! So, I supported the government on the issue of mask wearing. I can accept that some protections need to be in place whilst we investigate the Omicron variant, and the option to work from home is a sensible measure to put in place at this time. I currently have two members of my staff who are unwell with Covid, and I have just recovered from Covid myself, so I am not of the opinion that we should do nothing.
"However, domestic vaccine passports are another matter totally. I voted against the Government on this issue for two key reasons. Firstly, as a principle, we should be careful of how much we infringe on people's liberty. I don't want Britain to become a state where carrying of passports becomes routine. I believe that freedom is at the heart of our national identity. Secondly, as a matter of practicality, can we really expect venues which have had an incredibly difficult time during lockdown to now police this type of compliance? No, I think not. Having worked in the performing arts for most of my life, I know they do not have the capacity to police these restrictions.
"On the issue of so called “mandatory vaccines”. I will never support forcing people to have any manner of medical intervention. This certainly is not the government’s position either! However, there is a grey area in terms of issues like employment in the NHS. As my wife works in a care home, I am well informed and have strong views on this. I think it is quite acceptable to expect people, who want to work on the health front line with the vulnerable, to be vaccinated to minimise any risk. I understand the argument that this could act as a deterrent to working in the NHS, but I feel that isn’t a real issue as most people who work in health and care are fully aware of how important it is to get the jab to protect others who are most at risk.
"Finally, make sure you get your booster! The local NHS has worked their socks off, and I know there have been teething issues, but I have been passing local feedback to them and we are really making great progress."