People setting the rules should practise what they preach

December 30 2021
People setting the rules should practise what they preach

Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy writes for the Voice

I HOPE that despite the latest covid restrictions you and your loved ones have been having a very good Christmas and festive period, especially after so many of us were not able to celebrate in the way we would have liked last year.

It’s clear that not everyone made the same sacrifices last Christmas. I have been shocked and appalled by the revelations that there was a Christmas party in Downing Street in breach of Covid rules at the time.

I’ve heard heart-breaking stories from people who couldn’t visit dying relatives in hospital last year, who had to hand over gifts to their elderly parents on the doorstep, or who spent Christmas alone.

If we are to beat this virus, and new variants, we all need to make sacrifices. It can’t be one rule for the elite and another rule for everyone else. The very people who set the rules should be the first to practice what they preach.

I know that the Government promised the removal of restrictions last time would be “irreversible”, and it’s a shame this has not been borne out to be true.

Labour has supported the new measures as we believe it’s right to follow the advice of the public health experts, rather than play politics with people’s lives.

But alongside common-sense precautions to protect people from new variants of covid, like mask-wearing, we also need to address the economic impact of further restrictions.

For example, we need to increase the rate of sick pay, so people who have possible covid symptoms can afford to self-isolate; at the moment, this is something many people just can’t afford to do.

Labour has also questioned the extortionate cost of PCR tests for people travelling to and from abroad, with too many companies seeking to make a quick buck from this market.

Although the success of the vaccine rollout and the booster campaign has put us in a stronger position than we were this time last year, the threat of new covid strains means we all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and others.

We know that vaccines remain effective against all covid variants, so I would urge everyone to get vaccinated if you have not done so already, and get your booster jab once you become eligible, as this is still the best way to allow us to enjoy our freedoms whilst tackling the risk posed by covid.

I do hope that 2022 will be a much better year for us all than the last two years, and I wish you and your families all the best.

As always, please contact me if there are any issues I can help with at kerry.mccarthy.mp@parliament.uk 0117 939 9901.