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Graham Stringer said he does not support Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in backing a second coronavirus lockdown because the scientific evidence is not there. Mr Stringer told talkRADIO: “I don’t think the case has been made. I understand what Keir Starmer is doing.
“I think politically it’s an astute move because the Prime Minister said he is a professor of hindsight and it looked inevitable that we would have a lockdown.
“But I don’t think scientifically that the case has been made for a lockdown.”
He added: “When you close off hospitals you stop screening for cancer or people don’t have the surgery that they need.”
It comes as Boris Johnson has plunged England into a month-long lockdown to try and control the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Johnson insisted a second lockdown was necessary as he came under pressure from Tory MPs and business chiefs about the “truly devastating” measure.
The Prime Minister guaranteed “without a shred of doubt” that the restrictions would expire on December 2, amid concerns on the Conservative benches that England’s lockdown could be extended.
He said technological advances will “defeat this virus by the spring” as he tries to ward off a rebellion over the stay-at-home order which is due to come into effect on Thursday.
The Prime Minister promised MPs a fresh vote on the next stage of measures to combat coronavirus when “we intend to return” to a regional tiered system on December 2.
He announced greater support for the self-employed after extending the furlough scheme for employees as pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops are ordered to close.
But a growing number of senior MPs on the Conservative backbenches have indicated they will oppose the new lockdown during a vote on Wednesday, a day before it is set to come into force.
Mr Johnson hailed advances in medicine including “virtually instant” COVID-19 tests, and said there is a “real prospect” of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year.
“I believe that these technical developments, taken together, will enable us to defeat this virus by the spring as humanity has defeated every other infectious disease,” he said.
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He promised that the national lockdown inn England, if approved by MPs, will automatically expire next month and the Commons “will have a vote to agree the way forward”.
The Prime Minister warned that “without action” there could be twice as many deaths over the winter as in the first wave, meaning there is “no alternative” but another national lockdown.
He said COVID-19 presents an “existential threat” to the NHS, with doctors being forced to choose which patients to treat and “who would live and who would die”.
With Chancellor Rishi Sunak beside him, Mr Johnson announced the Government will double support for the self-employed for November from 40 percent to 80 percent of trading profits.
Sir Keir accused the Prime Minister of a “catastrophic failure of leadership” for rejecting a recommendation from scientists to impose a shorter “circuit-breaker” lockdown in September.
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