Millions of Brits are looking forward to lockdown coming to an end. But could it be later than we’ve been led to believe?
Yesterday (January 6), MPs voted to approve England’s third national lockdown.
In his address to the nation at the weekend, Boris Johnson signalled that it could come to an end around February half term.
When will lockdown end? What did MPs vote on?
Following a four-hour debate in the House of Commons, ministers have said that the restrictions can stay in place till the end of March.
This means that the PM can keep the country in lockdown until then without going in front of ministers to request an extension.
Lockdown has been touted as the only way to get the COVID-19 virus under control until the most vulnerable have been vaccinated.
And, with GPs told to “stand down” on routine healthcare and concentrate on vaccinations, things are set to speed up.
However, it appears Boris is taking no chances.
MPs voted to approve the new lockdown by 524 votes to 16, with the PM winning by a 508 majority.
Their approval was given retrospectively, with Boris announcing the country would lockdown earlier this week.
MPs want the right to vote on it again
During the debate, Matt Hancock was urged to offer MPs the right to vote on the restrictions twice more before they expire on March 31.
They want to decide at the end of January if the “extreme controls” remain in place.
They also want a vote at the end of February.
Hancock responded by saying the government doesn’t expect lockdown to continue until the end of March. Although legally it now can.
“While these regulations do provide for new restrictions until the end of March, it is not because we expect the full national lockdown to continue until then,” he said.
He added it would “allow the steady, controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a local basis”.
‘Restrictions kept under continuous review’
Hancock continued: “Those tier changes do require a vote in parliament.
“The restrictions will therefore be kept under continuous review.
“There’s a statutory requirement to review every two weeks and a legal obligation to remove them if they’re no longer deemed necessary to limit the transmission of the virus,” he concluded.
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