COVID 19 vote – the odd bunch

The vote in Parliament to confirm the extension of the COVID 19 restrictions was oddly unpredictable. That the vote was overwhelmingly in favour (489 for to 60 against) was not a surprise.

Nor was it a shock that junior ministers James Heappey (Wells) and Rebecca pow (Taunton) voted with the government. More of a surprise was that Ian Liddell Grainger (Bridgwater & West Somerset) voted with them. His dislike for Pow is well known. He has laid into government ministers left right and centre. His views tend towards the more right wing limb of the Conservative party.

However among the “noes” were Marcus Fysh (Yeovil) and David Warburton (Somerton & Frome). Both had called for an end to lockdown measures and voted to stop the current rules being extended. They were joined by a few Labour MPs too, including Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) and 5 Democratic Unionist MPs as well. It was a bit of a motley crew all told. As unlikely a bunch of bedfellows as you are ever likely to see.

Labour’s candidate for Marcus Fysh’s Yeovil constituency is Terry Ledlie. He was quick to criticise his MP. “I was therefore very disappointed to see that our local MP voted against the restrictions. It has been widely reported that Mr Fysh wanted the government to adopt a regional approach. My view is that it would have been daft to set different rules  here  for just  28 days. Especially as the number of confirmed Covid cases has been increasing again since the restrictions were relaxed in May. While Covid is still fairly  rare  in South Somerset , the number more than doubled last week. There were 40 new cases in the past week, compared with just 18 the week before. This is a sign that we have not quite won the battle yet.”

You can call this political opportunism or a sincerely held belief according to your politics. But the one thing that is clear in this debate, is this. You can’t predict which way anyone will vote.

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