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Kent MPs call for district or borough level coronavirus restrictions

A group of Kent MPs has called for coronavirus restrictions to be applied on a borough or district level.

This comes ahead of an announcement tomorrow, which will reveals which areas are in tier one, two or three and will see the most severe curbs.

MP Tom Tugendhat has signed the letter Picture: Parliament TV
MP Tom Tugendhat has signed the letter Picture: Parliament TV

In a letter to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, some seven MPs, including Tom Tugendhat for Tonbridge and Malling, Helen Grant for Maidstone and the Weald and Greg Clark for Tunbridge Wells, said they strongly believe local lockdowns should be conducted on a borough or district level rather than countywide, due to the different coronavirus levels across Kent.

The request came following a great deal of uncertainty about whether or not Kent will be placed into the highest tier of restrictions due to infection levels in certain districts.

Swale, and particularly the Isle of Sheppey, is seeing far greater numbers of infections than many of the rest of the county, recording the highest rate in the country earlier this week.

From seven days to November 19, there were 854 cases and a rolling rate of 569 in Swale. But in Tonbridge and Malling, in the same time frame, there are 266 cases and a rolling rate of 201.3.

Mr Tugendhat said: “The numbers in Kent vary significantly from one area to another.

"We must make sure that any restrictions are proportionate to each community."

It remains unclear at what level tiers will be applied at, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson that said that restricted areas had to be large enough to have an effect.

He said: "Alas, the disease is no respecter of borough boundaries."

Other MPs to sign the letter were Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford), Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe), Sir Roger Gales (North Thanet) and Damian Green (Ashford).

In the letter they say: “Kent is a vast and varied County which Showcases the best of our country.

The letter written to Matt Hancock
The letter written to Matt Hancock

"We must allow our businesses to prosper and not be held back by restrictions not suitable for their area.

"We trust the government will introduce restrictions on a Borough and District area To ensure that the right approach Is used across each community.”

“With some districts beginning to show some of the highest infection rates in the country we strongly believe any local lockdown should be conducted on a district or borough level.”

Mr Green, who had already made a separate call for the government to treat individual districts separately, said he hoped the government "was in listening mode.”

Additional reporting by political editor Paul Francis

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