Julian Sturdy votes in favour of coronavirus restrictions – despite York being in the ‘wrong’ tier

1 Dec 2020 @ 8.23 pm
| Politics

Julian Sturdy voted with his government tonight over the new coronavirus restrictions which will see York placed into the ‘high’ Tier 2 category tomorrow.

The Conservative MP for York Outer ‘very reluctantly’ backed the new tiers for England.

The House of Commons voted by 291 votes to 78 – a Government majority of 213 – for the new restrictions.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell abstained, in line with the instructions of the Labour leadership.

Altogether 15 Labour MPs defied the whip to vote against, and 53 Conservative MPs rebelled.

But Mr Sturdy was not among them, even though he said York was in a tier inconsistent “with its lower virus rate”

Social and economic harm

Julian Sturdy

“After long and careful thought, I very reluctantly decided to vote for the new tiers system tonight,” Mr Sturdy said after the vote.

“I am painfully aware of the social and economic harm that the continued restrictions are doing, and am voting on the explicit basis of clear commitments I have been given after a lengthy conversation today with the Chancellor, as well as hearing from the Prime Minister.

“I have been assured that within weeks the system will be revised to create more localised tiers based on council areas, which should allow York to move to a tier position more consistent with its lower virus rate.

“I am taking them at their word on this, and if we do not get significant changes to the system to get York into Tier 1, I have put Ministers on notice that I will vote against any extension of this system.”

He claimed “the easy option would have been to vote against, in the knowledge that the measures would still go through”.

“I believe by giving the Government the benefit of the doubt now, I am making the better decision for our community by ensuring I retain leverage over the Government at the next stage.

“I am very unhappy to be given a binary choice by the government tonight between this system or no restrictions, but given this stark decision, I concluded that voting in favour was the safest decision for our city.”