Steve Brine has set out in a speech to the House of Commons his thinking on a series of votes on the Governments' Covid Plan B.
Ministers have moved to the measures first proposed in the Summer - which include mandatory mask wearing in more places and vaccine passports other other things - in response to fears and projected case numbers around the Omicron variant.
Steve says; "As I have said for a long time, we need to mean it when we say we should learn to live with Covid and we need to trust our vaccines.
“And as I said in the Commons this afternoon, my view on face masks is fairly ambivalent but if people feel safer wearing them it’s not a huge imposition for most of us and many of my constituents chose to do so when they were no longer mandatory in many places. I’m not going to stand in the way of that.
"On vaccine passports, I did not support the move as I fear it crosses a rubicon and will very quickly become more akin to the vaccine pass we see in other parts of the world. And given the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, had told MPs on a call just before the debate got underway that our vaccines provide minimal protection against transmission I am unconvinced as to their purpose or effectiveness.
"And on the mandatory vaccination of NHS staff, I voted with the Government which is consistent with how I voted on the same measure for care staff a few months back. I set out in the speech why I took this course of action - for which there is precedent around the Hep B vaccine - but I recognise this move isn't without risk and it remains to be seen whether it will drive up vaccination rates among NHS staff who have, until now, refused to get the jab for whatever reason.
“More generally, my fear is that we will get all of the proposals contained within Plan B, because Labour will back them come what may, and sooner or later Plan C with very possibly a genuine lockdown in the New Year. I think the Government has failed its' first test on ‘learn to live with Covid’ and I hope it doesn’t make the same mistake again. I will go on making my point to Ministers in what I hope is a balanced and measured way that represents as much constituency opinion as possible but you can never speak for everyone at the same time.”
All measures - contained within what are known as statutory instruments - were carried due to Labour Party support in the Commons. A fourth SI, which switched mandatory ten-day isolation for close contacts of a "suspected" Omicron case with a daily lateral flow test, was approved by MPs without a vote.
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