03:36PM, Thursday 05 November 2020
Windsor MP Adam Afriyie rebelled against the Government on Wednesday when he voted against a second lockdown.
Mr Afriyie was in the minority as the new restrictions, which came into force yesterday, were voted passed by 516 votes to 38.
Speaking in the House of Commons before the vote, the Conservative MP was critical of the effect it would have on business and the economy.
He said: “My heart is breaking for the once-thriving businesses across the Windsor constituency and the country.
“I have met owners of pubs, clubs, restaurants, bars, sports venues, salons and retail outlets. They cannot magically become online businesses.
“I have spoken to business owners who have literally been in tears on the phone and in person when they think about their staff and their livelihoods.
“The new proposed lockdown will prove fatal to many such businesses. There are many questions about the strategy, the need for a lockdown and the generous support the Government are trying to give.
“How do the Government intend to protect retail businesses that are forced to close from the increasing dominance of online retailers, which often benefit from lower business rates and taxes than their terrestrial partners?"
Speaking to the Express today, Mr Afriyie added: “I could not in good conscience vote for a second lockdown, and destroy businesses and millions of people’s jobs and livelihoods across the country and the Windsor constituency in the process.
"MPs were given old data and well-meaning speculation, not robust science.”
Slough MP Tan Dhesi voted in favour of the lockdown, but stated that the plans were too little too late.
He said: “Despite repeated requests from the Government’s own scientific experts and the Labour Party, this lockdown has come far too late and epitomises the incompetent Tory pandemic response - it will now inflict an even higher economic and human cost.
“They have lost control of the virus, lost control of testing and lost considerable public trust.
“To ensure we are not stuck in an endless cycle of lockdowns and restrictions, Government needs to urgently improve the failing test and trace system, and have a clear exit strategy planned for the 2nd December.”
Maidenhead MP Theresa May stood up in the chamber and criticised the lockdown, before abstaining from the vote, while Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrisey voted in favour.
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