MP Julian Knight defends his decision to defy Prime Minister - The Solihull Observer

MP Julian Knight defends his decision to defy Prime Minister

Sarah Mason 3rd Dec, 2020   0

SOLIHULL Conservative MP Julian Knight has defended his decision to defy the Prime Minister and vote against the Government’s three tier regional lockdown on Tuesday, December 1.

Mr Knight warned he would join the rebels unless more help was offered to the hospitality sector.

The Prime Minister’s plans to bring in a tougher tier system of coronavirus restrictions for England from December 2 were supported by 291 votes to 78.

The new system will see millions of people in the country placed into Tier 3 – the strictest one – including residents in Solihull.

But 55 Tory MPs, including Mr Knight, defied PM Boris Johnson.

A further 16 Conservatives abstained, with many expressing concerns about the tougher tiers in the Commons debate that led up to the vote.

The MP said: “It is with the deepest regret that I voted against the Government’s tier restrictions.

“We need to protect our local NHS but I also feel it’s morally wrong to make hospitality uneconomic and not offer proper targeted help.

“Indeed, the hospitality sector’s contribution to our economy shrank by 91 per cent during the first lockdown, according to government figures released this week.

“Locally in Solihull, a number of hospitality businesses have been in touch with me about the tough time which they are facing. Hospitality venues have worked tirelessly to adapt all year and deserve our support.”

Under Tier 3 restrictions bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must close, although they can continue to offer takeaway services and residents are barred from meeting anyone they do not live with in any indoor setting.

Labour MPs were ordered to abstain in the vote, with party leader Sir Keir Starmer saying he recognised restrictions needed to continue, but he was “far from convinced” the new system would work.

The tiers will be reviewed every two weeks and Mr Johnson has promised MPs a vote on whether to keep the system before February 2.

Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti voted in favour of the new three tier system.

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