Which Northamptonshire MPs voted against the government over 'Freedom Day' delay

Andrea Leadsom calls for restrictions to be lifted after two weeks not four after backing plan "with a heavy heart"

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 9:46 am

Three Northamptonshire MPs were among 51 Tory rebels who voted against the government extending Covid-19 restrictions.

Northampton South's Andrew Lewer, Kettering MP Peter Hollobone and Wellingborough s Peter Bone were among 60 who voted against pushing back 'Freedom Day' by up to four weeks from June 21.

Northampton North MP Michael Ellis, Corby's Tom Pursglove, railways minister and Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris and South Northants' Dame Andrea Leadsom all voted in favour of the latest amendments as the government secured a 461 to 60 victory.

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It means limits on numbers for sports events, theatres and cinemas will remain in place, nightclub doors will stay closed and people will be asked to continue working from home where possible until July 19.

Mrs Leadsom said she supported the move "with a heavy heart."

And she called on Boris Johnson to lift the restrictions after two weeks not four so that "some of the joys of summer can light up people’s lives once again."

NHS figures yesterday (June 16) revealed 9,055 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in 24 hours — the highest since mid-February — nine more people have died.

Tory MPs Michel Ellis, Andrea Leadsom, Chris Heaton-Harris and Tom Pursglove all backed the government

Health secretary Matt Hancock told MPs ahead of the vote there has been a "significant change" that has given the virus "extra legs".

Mrs Leadsom, a former Tory front-bencher, said she also had deep concern about any restrictions on people’s liberty and mental health.

She said: "Many employers in hospitality and other sectors are now desperately trying to recruit staff yet I am told by businesses in my patch that many people are not responding to offers of interviews.

"They are concerned that the long period of enforced lockdown and enforced inactivity is leading to an issue of motivation.

Tory MPs Peter Bone, Philip Hollobone and Andrew Lewer all voted against the government last night

"Sometimes it is just easier to stay at home rather than getting back out there again.

"Many colleagues talked about the success of frightening people into staying home. Surely we are going to need something to help people feel motivated and want to get back out there to work, to get our economy going again and to help themselves to recover from this difficult period."

Wellingborough's lockdown-sceptic MP Peter Bone said: "This is about the liberty of the British people. We are taking away something that is our right.

"I do not think the government have made the case for putting off unlocking.

"There are lies, damned lies and Covid statistics. The government have been using an extraordinary propaganda machine to take certain statistics to try to prove their case.

"But the total number of deaths at the moment is running below the five-year average.

"In Northamptonshire, thankfully, our two hospitals have zero covid patients.

"The government made their own original forecasts for what would happen on May 17 when we did the major unlocking. But we have done better than their best prediction of the situation, so why have we now gone into this doom and gloom?

"As much as I like the Prime Minister, I think he has got this wrong."