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Thanet and Sittingbourne and Sheppey MPs among members of new Covid Recovery Group


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Two Kent MPs are among more than thirty backbenchers who have joined a new pressure group opposing blanket Covid lockdown measures.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay and the Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson are among members of the new Covid Recovery Group.

Craig Mackinlay and Gordon Henderson both voted against a second lockdown and have now joined the new Covid Recovery Group. Stock picture
Craig Mackinlay and Gordon Henderson both voted against a second lockdown and have now joined the new Covid Recovery Group. Stock picture

It wants a different approach to tackling the virus and says that when the current lockdown ends, the government should rule out further national restrictions.

The group also wants to see more analysis of the economic damage being done and to challenge the scientific advice.

Both MPs argued that it was premature and the government’s policy of different tiers of restrictions was beginning to work.

Craig Mackinlay spoke out in the debate saying the government lockdown plan was muddled and inconsistent and unfairly penalised small shop owners, church worshippers and those wanting to take part in sports.

The establishment of a new group indicates that there is a growing rift within the Conservative Party about the strategy for dealing with the infection.

Craig Mackinlay spoke out saying the lockdown plan was muddled and unfairly penalised small shop owners. Stock picture
Craig Mackinlay spoke out saying the lockdown plan was muddled and unfairly penalised small shop owners. Stock picture

MPs are urging ministers to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the restrictions to establish the extent to which a national lockdown might be costing more lives than they are saving by stopping cancer and dementia treatments and increasing suicide rates among the under 40s.

Mr Mackinlay, speaking after the recent vote, said: “I did not feel the human and financial cost of another closedown of the economy had been properly considered and [there was] also much wrong with the regulations.”

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP explaining why he voted against second lockdown

Gordon Henderson said a regional tier approach was better: “The three-tier system we had in place was working perfectly well.

"Those cities like Liverpool were already beginning to see a reduction in the virus. It is illogical to have the same sort of restrictions in areas with a lower incidence of Covid, as we do in Kent.”

Amid concerns that the government's scientific advisers have skewed statistics, the group says no policies should put before Parliament unless they are backed up by three "independent" expert opinions.

Head to our politics page for expert analysis and all the latest news from your politicians and councils.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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