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People expect this vaccination programme to be our way out. It is, and the Government should not delay in restoring our freedoms.

By Chris Green MP. Chris is the Conservative MP for Bolton West and a member of The Freedom Association. 

The Government is continuing to deliver on its exit strategy to release us from this cycle of Covid-19 lockdowns. From the beginning, they have said that vaccinations will protect lives and are the way out from these constraints on our freedoms.

The vaccination programme continues to be hugely successful. In just three months, more than half of the adult population in the UK have received their first jab. Ministers are understandably proud of the speed of the vaccine rollout and that our timely exit from the European Union has put us a step ahead of our continental friends. Many people are more accepting of this current national lockdown, compared to the last one, because the common understanding is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It enables our vaccinators to get us ahead of the mutating virus. Why the caution when triumph is so near?

It may have been that the subdued messaging was to ensure that the focus is maintained on maximising uptake of vaccinations to build the required herd immunity. But this is already happening. Or is it because the Government is less confident that this current round of vaccinations is the way out? It need not be. 

Recent results from the U.S. and South American study of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine have found that it was 79% efficacious in protecting against symptoms of Covid-19. In the trial, the two-dose shot was also 100% efficacious in protecting people from severe symptoms and hospitalisation from the disease. We should all be rejoicing at this news. 

Members of Parliament ought to be weighing the cost of the disease against the damage done by the cycle of lockdowns. The ‘Catch Up With Cancer’ campaign reckons that the NHS backlog could result in 35,000 cancer deaths alone. It will take the NHS two years running at 120 per cent of current of pre-Covid capacity to catch up. What of those other life and death medical conditions? What of those conditions that are not life or death and are about having a good standard of living such as hip replacement or cataract operations?

Children are the least affected by Covid-19, but most affected by the lockdown. Although many children attended school throughout the last closure because one of their parents was considered a key worker, many others never met another child during that time and had the barest home-learning. They may never catch up.

Imagine being a school leaver this coming summer. Unemployment is already rapidly increasing and the end of furloughing is going to add many more. There will not be much opportunity for those new job seekers.

The Government does not require another six-month extension to the Coronavirus Act on Thursday. That will take us to September, and we will see the spread of bugs as normal work patterns resume and children go back to school. It is difficult to imagine that this would not trigger another renewal of these extraordinary powers. I could understand an extension of a month or so, but certainly not over the summer.

Not renewing the Coronavirus Act sends the message to people who have been too worried to see their doctor that they can do so in confidence and that employers can start the jobs and business bounce back.

People expect this vaccination programme to be our way out. It is, and the Government should not delay in restoring our freedoms. 


Watch Chris Green and Andrew Allison discuss issues addressed in this article in a podcast recorded on Wednesday 24th March 

Photo Credit: Official Portrait of Chris Green. Creative Commons 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence

WATCH Andrew Allison talking to Bill Etheridge

Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns, was interviewed by former MEP, Bill Etheridge, on his Open Dialogus show. They discussed the state of freedom in the UK, amongst many other issues including the future of the Monarchy and constitutional reform. 

If the Government is telling the truth and it is guided by data, the dates have to be flexible, too

By Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns

Data, not dates, is the new Government mantra. But the question I have is: when the data improves, why are the earliest dates for reopening the economy fixed in stone? The vaccination programme has been highly successful. More than 21.3 million people - 40% of the adult population - have been vaccinated so far. If you are 56 years-old or above, and live in England, you can now book a vaccination appointment here. I turned 50 last week, so I expect to receive my vaccine by the end of the month.

The Health Secretary has said, "What this all shows is that the link from cases to hospitalisations then to deaths that had been unbreakable before the vaccine, that link is now breaking." Yet the Government still won't budge.

Many businesses in the hospitality industry will not have traded for over six months by the time the Government allows them to trade again. This must be reviewed because if the Government is telling the truth and it is guided by data, the dates have to be flexible, too. 

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?" 


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You don’t have to be right wing to go bonkers – but it helps

The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association 

Rev-Peter-Mullen_(2)_.pngThere are great platefuls of tripe being served up by what is called “the new right.” I don’t know anything about the new right – unless the phrase is a tautologous self-definition by the people who are serving up the platefuls of tripe. Let me be specific…

The flavour of this tripe is that we are sliding into a new totalitarianism. Now, I think there has been an excess of new regulations and bossy restrictions during this long Covid emergency. I might even agree with those who say the government has overdone these. Worse - for me anyway – is that the government has been, and remains, incoherent in its administration of its regulations and restrictions. One minute they say one thing, and the next the opposite.

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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. 

Lord Moylan challenges the Government's decision to close places of worship for public worship

TFA member, Lord (Daniel) Moylan questioned the Government last Tuesday over its decision to close places of worship for public worship. Here is his question is full:

"To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the official guidance to address the COVID-19 pandemic issued following the Prime Minister’s remarks on Saturday 31 October, whether they will now produce the evidence that justifies the cessation of acts of public worship in places of worship."

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Good, Bad or Bonkers?

The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association.

Is the government doing a good job in its efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus? Or is it doing a bad job? Of one thing there is no doubt: the government is in an almost impossible predicament. If it prescribes lockdown, it will be damned by half the community. If it refuses to introduce lockdown, it will be damned by the other half. So in fact the government can’t win. And personally, I have some sympathy for ministers. “Good” we can praise and “bad” we can excoriate. The one thing that is intolerable is incoherence.

Unfortunately, this government is wildly incoherent.

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