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Pages tagged "COVID-19"

The Freedom Association responds to the postponement of Freedom Day

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement this evening, Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns for The Freedom Association, said: 

“Although the Prime Minister’s announcement was expected, it was still disappointing. Covid hospitalisations are increasing, but the numbers remain low. There is an increase in those requiring mechanical ventilation, but again those numbers are still low. The number of people dying with or of Covid is a tiny fraction of what it was a few months ago. If the NHS cannot cope with these relatively small numbers, serious questions need to be asked. 

“The Prime Minister has said that at some stage we are going to have to live with the virus. I agree. The virus is going to be with us forever. I agree with that, too. But the Prime Minister also said that new variants could result in the Government keeping restrictions in place after 19th July. That is not learning to live with the virus. 

“The Government needs to trust the good sense of the people. We are not stupid. Those who are vulnerable have already been double-jabbed. Those who want to socially distance and continue to wear face coverings are free to do so. But those of us who want life to return to normal should be allowed to get on with it. The vaccination programme has been a huge success. If now is not the time for life to return to normal, I fear that the time will never come. 

“Our freedoms must be restored.” 


Andrew Allison in conversation with Philip Davies MP - Lockdown restrictions must end

Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns for The Freedom Association, chatted to Philip Davies MP. Philip is the Conservative MP for Shipley and serves on The Freedom Association's Council and Management Committee. They talked about the damaging lockdown restrictions and how the Government should end them, not only for the sake of the economy, but for people's health and wellbeing in general.

To watch the podcast on YouTube, click here

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Has Matt Hancock lost the plot? The Government needs reining-in

By Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns

Has Matt Hancock lost the plot? A year ago, when flights were still landing in the UK from China, we were told that closing such routes wouldn’t make any difference. The same went for Italy. Even though hospitals were full of Covid patients, flights were still landing in the UK from those Covid hotspots. 

Now the pendulum has swung in completely the opposite direction. For lying on the Passenger Locator Form when returning from a Red List country you could be put into prison for up to ten years. 

Helpfully, ITV’s Carl Dinnen has come up with a list of offences which have a maximum sentence of ten years. They include possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, rioting, making threats to kill, administering poison so as to endanger life, indecent assault, and cruelty to children. 

Carrying a maximum five-year sentence: dealing in firearms, violent disorder, unlawful wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, abandonment of children under two, abuse of trust: sexual activity with a child.

So anyone who has sex with a child will face a sentence of five years, and someone who lies on their Passenger Locator Form faces a sentence of ten years. This is what happens when the Government views everything through a Covid lens. 

And to make matters worse, Steven Swinford, The Times’ Political Editor, has tweeted that it “looks like MPs *won't* get a vote on the 10-year sentence for travellers who lie on passenger information forms. The government is planning to use the existing forgery and counterfeiting act of 1981 to prosecute people.” 

A major change in Government policy and Parliamentarians will not be allowed a vote on it. 

In Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta, The Mikado, the title character used the phrase, “let the punishment fit the crime.” But the fictional Mikado was thirsty for more executions. He wasn’t a benevolent emperor. 

It strikes me as if we no longer have a benevolent government. Anyone who thinks that locking someone up for up to ten years for not being truthful on a Passenger Locator Form is a proportionate response needs to think again. It’s not as if those people landing in the UK won’t have to go home, self-isolate and take Covid tests. They will be watched by Government officials. 

The Government needs reining-in, and even though The Freedom Association and other campaign groups lobby for change, it is only Parliamentarians who can effect that change. The Coronavirus Act must be scrapped at the end of March, and if the Government thinks that certain restrictions need to be in place, it needs to present those arguments in Parliament and let Parliamentarians decide. It’s how a democracy is supposed to work.


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WATCH Sir Desmond Swayne MP: "This is a situation of state capture."

Another great speech in yesterday's debate was delivered by Sir Desmond Swayne, the Conservative MP for New Forest West. We have published his speech in full below, but please spend a minute and 40 seconds of your time watching him deliver it. 

WATCH Sir Charles Walker MP: "I cannot support criminalising a parent for seeing their child in the park over the coming months. It is not within my DNA to do that."

One of the best speeches in the Public Health debate in the House of Commons yesterday was delivered by Sir Charles Walker, the Conservative MP for Broxbourne. We have published his speech in full below, but please watch him deliver it. It is worth three minutes of your time. 


I cannot support this legislation. I cannot support criminalising a parent for seeing their child in the park over the coming months. It is not within my DNA to do that.

Of course I will follow the law and respect the law. We have the argument in the House of Commons; the House divides and one is on the winning side or the losing side. I will be on the losing side, no doubt, but I do not wear the fact that I will support the law with great virtue, because it is easy for me to comply with the law. It is easy for most people in this House to comply with the law. We are comfortably off, we live in nice houses, we have gardens and outdoor spaces, and we have access to family. The same is true of the journalists who fill our TV screens every night with their wisdom and wit about how people should comply with these regulations, and they sneer at those who cannot. But the next three months are going to be really hard for a lot of people—people who do not have my advantages of a monthly salary and a monthly pension payment. They will be worrying about their job, their future, their mental health and their family relationships, because they will miss people terribly. They will be living in small environs that apparently they can leave only to exercise once a day. Sadly, some of those people will break. It will be too much for them. That is when we in this place—and the journalists up there in the Gallery with all their privileges—instead of sneering and dismissing them and calling them “covidiots” should show some compassion and understanding. We should wear our advantages and privileges with great humility.

I do not want to hear from another constituent who is having a good lockdown. I am really pleased that they are, but my voice is for those who are not: for those of my friends, neighbours and constituents who are struggling day in, day out, whose mental health is not in a healthy state, but has deteriorated, and who are wondering how, in the next few months, in the middle of winter, they will cope.

I ask colleagues and people out there who are so fortunate to show some compassion and understanding for those who are not so fortunate.

WATCH Andrew Allison talking to Mike Graham on talkRADIO, criticising the latest lockdown

Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns at The Freedom Association, talked to Mike Graham on talkRADIO on 5th January, and criticised the latest lockdown. "We left Tier 1 into Tier 2 just before the November lockdown. And after the lockdown we were in Tier 3. It obviously didn't work very well, did it?" 


Never before has individual freedom been so much at risk. Please join us and become a member of The Freedom Association

WATCH Lockdowns: the case against

The Rt. Hon Esther McVey MP and Philip Davies MP argue the case against lockdowns. They are damaging, not only to the economy, but to the overall health and well-being of the country. This was a Freedom Association webinar which took place on Tuesday 8th December 2020. It was chaired by David Nuttall, a former MP for Bury North.

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Hard-won basic freedoms are at serious risk for many years to come

The following is a guest post by Philip Davies MP. Philip is the Conservative MP for Shipley, and is a member of The Freedom Association's Council and Management Committee.

If anyone had said a year ago that in Britain, in 2020, it would apparently be “normal” to be told we could not meet up with family and friends in our own homes when we liked in the numbers we liked, that shops, businesses and sporting venues would be ordered to close by the Government, that there would be a curfew imposed on restaurants and bars (assuming that they were even allowed to open in the first place), that we would all be wearing face coverings unless we carried an exemption card and that, for breaching these rules being enforced by state sponsored snitches, we would be breaking the law - you would have thought they had completely and utterly lost the plot. 

Being asked as an MP to support measures before Parliament which dictate that “No person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse” goes way beyond any of my wildest nightmares of possibility for the state of freedom in this country.

Yet this is exactly what has happened. 

I have been shocked at how easily people have had their freedoms taken away from them. Some people may not have considered it to be such a big deal at the beginning – even just thought it to be a very temporary inconvenience – but it is now as plain as day the extent to which some of our most basic freedoms have been usurped. Once we entered this unfortunate state, the question was always going to be how on Earth we were ever going to get out of it given the Government’s reasons for getting us into it in the first place.  

People have been scared witless by all the coverage and talk of COVID-19. I do not blame them for being very concerned. We have had a Tweedle-glum and Tweedle-never-glee constantly on hand to point out all the worst-case scenarios. Then there has been the reciting of all the death statistics without much in the way of context followed by the scary projections about hospitals being unable to cope. All this despite the figures increasingly being disputed and the actual position in hospitals not being necessarily unusual especially when, in previous years, we have also seen tens of thousands of excess winter deaths – not least from flu and pneumonia.

I also have huge concerns about the actual real level of excess deaths caused solely by COVID-19. There is the question as to whether or not someone would have actually sadly died from something else instead. In addition, I believe that there have been occasions when a death has been counted as a COVID-19 death when, in fact, the person actually died of another cause. This is over and above the already revised-down figures that were produced after it was revealed that the official numbers being broadcast daily on news channels and in briefings earlier this year had included everyone who died of anything at all as a COVID-19 death if they had ever tested positive for the virus at any time previously.

If the real picture were known, I imagine we would conclude that the risks are actually less still but, even using the official figures for now, these facts are what should be informing people’s own choices – not the nanny-knows-best approach of the Government.

During a virtual meeting I had with Professor Whitty, he confirmed that the overall mortality rate from COVID-19 is thought to be between 0.4 and 1%.  Probably 0.7%. Possibly even less. Of those over 80, the chances of dying are 1 in 10, and, of course, other conditions being present are a major factor. As all the figures show, the chances of dying at younger ages is very, very low indeed. 

We are constantly being told that people who have COVID-19 - but do not know they have it - could be infecting vulnerable people without realising.  This “kill your granny” argument seems to be the trump card of those keen to have us all under some degree of effective house arrest.  Of course nobody wants to kill their granny, or anyone else for that matter, but these things need to be a matter of individual choice.

I believe it should be up to my 77-year-old Mum to decide whether she wants to meet up with her grandchildren – bearing in mind any potential risk involved. I know that she, and many other people in even more at-risk categories, are very clear that they should be able to make their own decisions. In most cases, spending time with their families is definitely worth any risk as far as they are concerned – as not doing so is unthinkable. 

On the other hand, those who take a different view of the virus and want to be more cautious should be equally free to do so. If people do not want to mix socially, do not want to stay in a restaurant past a certain time or choose to isolate themselves completely for whatever reason at all then that should be entirely a matter for them. People should be free to do as little or as much as they want - it is their life.

In fact, a Government’s missive to those in the very vulnerable category regarding the changes to the ongoing restrictions over Christmas, says:

“Forming a Christmas bubble is a personal choice and should be balanced against the increased risk of infection.”

Why can’t this approach apply across the board?  Freedom (albeit still very restricted here) should not just be for Christmas.

Those who want to shield themselves should be able to do so with support and help from others if needed and those who do not should be able to resume normal life now.

The sight of the sons being told they could not comfort their grieving mother at their own father’s funeral a little while ago just sums up how inhumane the current approach is. The fact that the official at the funeral thought it was the right thing to do shows how far we are moving away from the land of hope and glory to the land of fear and misery.

Talking of all this being inhumane, where are all the usual human rights agitators? The very ones who are always so keen to support the right to family life for murderers and terrorists. Where are they fighting for the right to family life for the millions of law-abiding people in this country who simply want to meet up with their families but are being told that they will be breaking the law if they do?

It is the British spirit not the Official spirit that should be leading the way in these difficult times.

We need to get back to a situation where the scientists are there to advise, not decide. If the scientists ran the country with the sole mission of eliminating avoidable deaths and stopping the NHS being over-run (as they seem to be wholly focusing on with COVID-19) they would surely ban everything we enjoyed that wasn’t risk-free – tobacco, alcohol and cars for starters, not to mention foods deemed at any time not to be perfectly healthy. We would all be mandated to be immunised against anything and everything, prevented from taking part in all sports that have an element of risk and stopped from travelling to other countries that might not be as safe as Britain. The list of prohibitions would be endless and the freedom to live our lives as we want would be replaced by endless Government diktats.

That would be unthinkable.

Winston Churchill had it right when he said:

“Scientists should be on tap, but not on top.”

Yet these scientists and the whole sheer panic that has been cultivated over COVID-19 seems to have somehow managed to persuade people that they should be prepared to be locked up in their own homes to await further instructions on their life from the Government. Whether you agreed with the first lockdown, or the massive restrictions we have had to endure, or not, does not really matter now – we are where we are. In effect, it is like starting again each day. Whilst we may now hopefully have a vaccine that is apparently mainly effective to gradually offer people, the virus is still here and what happens if we get a new coronavirus – COVID-21 or COVID-22 and so on? We certainly cannot carry on effectively shutting down the country every time something like this happens.

I believe people were prepared to give the Government the benefit of the doubt at the beginning. However, they are not stupid, and the longer this has gone on the more they have come to oppose and question what they are being told to do.  

They are also waking up to the fact that the Government’s random rules restricting our most basic of freedoms are not even based on the science we’ve all been told they were following in some cases – for example when it comes to the number of people who can meet up, the arbitrary curfews, the loss of the right to run one business compared to another and the bizarre application of different restrictions based on huge areas and not on local facts. There is literally no basis at all for some of these decisions it seems and many just do not make any sense. People are getting increasingly fed up with all these erratic edicts and of being told what they can and cannot do every day.

As Margaret Thatcher said:

“….the state must be the servant of the people and not the master. There must be no drift into paternalism. Paternalism is the enemy of freedom and responsibility. Although it adopts a smiling, human face it is like all kinds of interventionist government….”

We must learn the lessons of this year - and fast. We cannot keep preventing people – by law – from living their lives as they see fit. Otherwise we will just be carrying on with this failing approach which will undoubtedly ruin the overall health and wealth of our great country and put our cherished, hard-won basic freedoms at serious risk for many, many years to come. 


WATCH Philip Davies MP and the Rt. Hon Esther McVey MP argue the case against lockdowns in a Freedom Association webinar held on Tuesday 8th December. To watch it, click on the image below. 

Join us for our next webinar - Lockdowns: the case against

Please join us for our next webinar on Tuesday 8th December at 6.00 pm. We will be exploring why lockdowns are damaging, not only to the economy, but to the overall health and well-being of the country. 

Confirmed speakers are:

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley and TFA Management Committee Member

Esther McVey, Conservative MP for Tatton

Sammy Wilson, DUP MP for East Antrim

The webinar will be chaired by David Nuttall, a TFA Council member and a former MP for Bury North 
Places are limited. Click HERE to register. 

COMMENT: Ministers are blind to the appalling human costs of lockdown

Writing for the Conservatives Global website, Andrew Allison commented that ministers are blind to the human cost of its lockdown measures.

"There were many great speeches opposing the new lockdown in the House of Commons on 4th November, but there were three which collectively summed up my reasons for opposing the Government’s latest restrictions. They were from Philip Davies, Huw Merriman, and Bob Neill – all Conservative MPs. 

"But before I start, I want to tell you a story. When MPs started to debate the new lockdown, I was having lunch with my wife at a lovely French restaurant in Beverley. Our wonderful and attentive waiter gave us an insight on what it is like to run a restaurant when the Government is constantly changing the rules."

Click HERE to read the article in full.