Politics

The MP for Lincoln said “this is not democracy as I know it” after he rebelled against the latest lockdown vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday night.

Karl McCartney was one of just 16 MPs who voted against restrictions and the only one in Greater Lincolnshire to rebel the new lockdown. 322 Tory MPs voted in favour, including Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh, who spoke against the lockdown in the debate.

His reasoning for voting against the third national lockdown was the negative economic impact on small businesses, the lost classroom days at schools and the outcomes for isolated constituents’ mental well-being.

Mr McCartney said he “had no choice in [his] mind and belief, but to vote against” the third lockdown.

“I also cannot in all good conscience ignore the damaging consequences that lockdowns have on the wellbeing of our society – of all ages

“This includes the hugely negative implications for many individuals’ psychological wellbeing and economic security,  both of which can have grave consequences for general health.

“Additionally, the mental wellbeing of school pupils is not fully being considered in my view with regard to school closures, and the decision to cancel the various external exams later in this school year.”

He added: “In the 21st Century surely we could, and should, have made provisions to ensure these went ahead.”

Votes by party on lockdown three. | Graph: UK Parliament

Here’s the full list of MP votes for Greater Lincolnshire:

  • Karl McCartney, Lincoln – No
  • Victoria Atkins, Louth and Horncastle – Aye
  • Gareth Davies, Grantham and Stamford – Aye
  • Sir John Hayes, South Holland and the Deepings – Aye
  • Caroline Johnson, Sleaford and North Hykeham – Aye
  • Sir Edward Leigh, Gainsborough – Aye
  • Matt Warman, Boston and Skegness – Aye
  • Lia Nici, Greater Grimsby – Aye
  • Andrew Percy, Brigg and Goole – Aye
  • Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes – Aye
  • Holly Mumby-Croft, Scunthorpe – Aye

Mr McCartney said: “There are various reasons for my vote yesterday evening, but especially as a libertarian Conservative, who holds the freedom loving values of the United Kingdom close to my heart, any proposal for restrictions on civil liberties is an extremely difficult decision to make and agree with — especially one which after ten months is extended with no checks for a further three months – a quarter of another year. That is not democracy as I know it.”

He said: “I fully understand the threat COVID-19 represents. I do hope that my constituents, the wider Lincolnshire electorate, and of course our fellow citizens of our nation follow the guidelines and laws as now laid out by our Prime Minister and government.”

The Lincoln MP finished: “There is light at the end of the tunnel for this crisis. Together, we will win the war against COVID-19, and I of course do hope that this is much sooner rather than later.”

All Greater Lincolnshire MPs, except Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, voted in favour of the government’s latest three-tier lockdown.

Some 291 MPs voted in favour of the new system and 78 voted against the proposals, marking the Prime Minister’s biggest rebellion so far.

In Greater Lincolnshire, which is set to be in tier 3 — the highest restrictions — 10 MPs voted in favour, and Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, voted against, by proxy.

Here’s how each MP voted:

  • Karl McCartney, Lincoln – No (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Victoria Atkins, Louth and Horncastle – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Gareth Davies, Grantham and Stamford – Aye
  • Sir John Hayes, South Holland and the Deepings – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Caroline Johnson, Sleaford and North Hykeham – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Sir Edward Leigh, Gainsborough – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Matt Warman, Boston and Skegness – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Lia Nici, Greater Grimsby – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Andrew Percy, Brigg and Goole – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew)
  • Holly Mumby-Croft, Scunthorpe – Aye (Proxy vote cast by Stuart Andrew) 

Data: GOV UK / Table: The Lincolnite

During a seven-hour debate in the House of Commons, Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough asked the Prime Minister, if he “will look at this personally in the case of Lincolnshire and [if] they will do their level best to get us out of tier 3 by Christmas”.

Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes highlighted that in Greater Lincolnshire, “hospitals are not necessarily in the same constituency or council area as the infection rate” and that people in one district go to hospitals that are in other districts to their own.

He added: “We do need more support particularly for costal areas.”

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed: “This is not another lockdown nor is this the renewal of existing measures in England,” but “we cannot afford to relax”.

He added that everyone “will be free to leave their homes for any reason” once the tier system is enforced.

The PM said he appreciated “people’s feelings of injustice” but “there is an end in sight”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock added “we can see that this virus is coming under control” but added “we’ve got to beat it together.”

Later in the afternoon, while the debate was ongoing, Edward Leigh added that: “The Health Secretary has written to me today guaranteeing that Lincolnshire’s tier status will be reviewed in two weeks’ time — and that areas within the county will be assessed individually rather than just Lincolnshire as a whole.”

Tier 3 begins from tomorrow – here’s what tier 3 means for Greater Lincolnshire.

The US Election, COVID-19 and antisemitism were on the agenda when Question Time came to Lincoln virtually on Thursday night, with Lincolnites asking the panel their burning questions.

The political show aired on BBC One on Thursday night, with a panel featuring Donald Trump’s former adviser Anthony Scaramucci, Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, minister for immigration Chris Phlip, American-British playwright Bonnie Greer, and Marie van der Zyl of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

It had a virtual audience of people from Lincoln on a Zoom call, asking questions of the panel throughout the show.

At the top of the agenda were the findings of the Equality Human Rights Commission’s report on anti-semitism in the Labour Party, which resulted in Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension.

Conservative MP Chris Phlip began by demanding that Labour leader Keir Starmer apologises personally and permanently kicks Corbyn out of the party, with the whole panel unanimously agreeing it was a “damning and shameful” report.

Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds said that his party would have to act on the recommendations of the report, before acknowledging that the previous leadership was a failure.

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP said it was a “shameful day” for the Labour Party amid the anti-semitism row. | Photo: BBC Question Time

Bonnie Greer voiced her support for the Labour Party, but said these allegations made her “sick” and suggested that the “trauma” of something such as anti-semitism is handed down through generations.

The next question was about the upcoming US Election, with audience member Helen suggesting that the vote was a matter of choosing the “least worst”.

Anthony Scaramucci served as the White House Director of Communications under Donald Trump for just 11 days in 2017, but has since spent his time condemning the President and endorsing Joe Biden’s campaign.

Anthony Scaramucci said Trump made himself “impossible to support”. | Photo: BBC Question Time

He described Trump as “the most insecure person you could ever meet” and took accountability for “normalising” him when he didn’t actually believe in the President’s policies.

Finally, when discussing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, calls for leadership were at the forefront of the panel and audience’s minds.

Karl, who is currently working as a contact tracer in Lincolnshire, suggested that the UK looks at “other alternatives” to a national lockdown and recommended the Swedish model of COVID-19 response, something which Bonnie Greer described as “herd immunity”.

Karl suggested to the panel that lockdown is proven not to work. | Photo: BBC Question Time

Speaking on behalf of the current Conservative government, Chris Phlip backed the regional tier system, suggesting that all regions have different scenarios with cases of the virus.

In response, Nick Thomas-Symonds, who is an MP in Wales which is currently on a circuit breaker lockdown, said that the “diligent, cautious approach” was the right one rather than what the current government are doing in England.

Paul from Lincoln spoke passionately about the virus to close the show, calling for another lockdown immediately to prevent any more families suffering heartache.

Paul said the government’s decision not to lockdown the country is “appalling”. | Photo: BBC Question Time

You can catch up on the whole show on BBC iPlayer.

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