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Tory MP outraged at prospect of 25-day January lockdown if we have 'normal' Christmas

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian MP has said he's outraged at proposals for a month-long national lockdown in January. 

The Government is considering ways to allow people to spend time with family over the festive period, but scientists have warned that each day's freedom might require five days of tougher measures to make up for it.

Reports suggest households might be allowed to mix indoors for a five-day period from Christmas Eve, and that ministers are considering plans to allow three or four households to form bubbles.

A five-day easing could mean a potential 25-day period of tighter measures into January if the Government follows advice from Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).

Sir Desmond Swayne, Christian and Conservative MP for New Forest West, told Premier the plan was ludicrous:

"I'm simply tired of being ordered about and told what I may and may not do, freedoms that we've fought for generations being swept away...the right for the freedom of worship, freedom of association, freedom of expression, told who we may meet, when we may meet them, what we must wear when we meet them. 

"Frankly, I've had enough of it. I don't believe it's necessary. What is being required of us is extraordinary, almost as if we were in some fascist state rather than a democracy."

With Christmas Eve falling on a Thursday and a bank holiday Monday on 28th December, it is thought that ministers are looking at that five-day period to allow some sort of indoor gatherings.

Churches are likely to be allowed to hold Christmas Day services, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Boris Johnson wants to ease coronavirus rules to allow families to be reunited over Christmas and his Government has been working with counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to agree to a UK-wide approach.

But Sir Desmond, who's also a member of the government's Covid Recovery Group, told Premier the government should be dictating to the public in this manner. 

"The government will buy into a great deal more cooperation by engaging with the people and presenting the information vastly more transparently, and in a format that is clearly understood, and asking people to cooperate and to do things in a particular way, rather than ordering us to do so using all the coercive power of the state to enforce it. 

"It is perfectly proper for governments to give us exhortations and advice, and seek to engage and bring us on board. But to be ordered about as if we were slaves is not acceptable."

Ministers are also working out what new tiers should replace the previous system once England emerges from the current lockdown on 2nd December.

The latest reproduction rate - the R value - of the virus is still above one, according to most recent estimates, meaning the disease is still spreading.

A further 529 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, the Government said, bringing the UK total to 53,274.

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