My speech during the debate on Public Health, 7 January 2021

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham (Con): I am very worried about the loss of liberty. I am very worried about the economic damage. I am very concerned about all those small businesses that have been shut down, and their livelihoods undermined. I want the Government to introduce a more urgent, convincing exit strategy from these measures, and I think that we are owed more debates and more votes long before the end of March. We need to keep this under constant review, and keep up the pressure to take away those measures that are not strictly necessary or which can be superseded by something better.

I hope that the roll-out of the vaccine will go well and will be speeded up. I would like more information from the Government about why they are not currently using pharmacies, why it has taken so long to welcome back to the health service recently retired people who would like to help out, and whether there is going to be a plan to train suitable volunteers so that we can greatly extend the numbers of people administering the vaccine. It would also be helpful to know more about supplies.

We need to get smarter at dealing with the virus because, unfortunately, we will have to live with it for some months to come, however successful vaccination is. Will Ministers provide more information on medical progress with treatments? We had a great breakthrough in Britain with a steroid helping to reduce the death rate. There are many more things in trial—can we know more about that? Are there supplements that people can take to buttress their immune system and make it less likely that they get the virus, or is that a fiction?

Can we get better at isolating patients and protecting staff in isolation units or hospitals? Why do we not use the Nightingales as covid-19 secure specialist units to take away some of the cross-infection dangers from district general hospitals, and so they do not have the intensity of covid-19 treatment? Can we know more about the capacity of the health service, because there are differing views on how many beds could be made available should the covid-19 wave continue to deteriorate? Can we hear more on improving infection control?

What use are we making of intensive UV under suitably controlled conditions? What have we done to try to improve the cleaning of air recycling or air extraction promptly so that we reduce exposure of people in hospitals and other locations that we might wish to use to dirty air that could spread the disease? Above all, we need much more knowledge and information about the energy that is undoubtedly going into alternative treatments and better infection control. I would like to thank all those in Wokingham and the area who have done so much to help us during this difficult period.

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29 Comments

  1. Lynn
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    But you voted for it? ‘With a heavy heart?’ CW ‘66% of the U.K. population is now dependent on the State for income’ soon to be very much higher. And when you or rather Witty fire the starting gun and expect everything to hum again – nothing. You will pull the levers of power and nothing will happen.
    If I were you JR, I would take the Chiltern Hundreds. I say that with a heavy heart.
    Parliament has abdicated, it’s too shocked after 50 years of coasting, to govern.
    The People will have to sort this out themselves. You made it inevitable.

    Reply No I did not vote for it.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 8, 2021 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      It is quite crazy that the police can board trains demanding to know where somebody is going, or surround their car when they’re holding cups of coffee in a country location, but people can waltz through Heathrow from anywhere in the world without any form of questioning. Totally NUTS.

  2. DavidJ
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Vaccine:

    I would prefer that vaccines were subjected to rigorous testing which, according to professional opinion outside government, suggests a period of years, not months.

    I do hope that we are not going to be subjected to disasters like those which happened in Africa and India through using unsafe vaccines.

    • David W
      Posted January 8, 2021 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Complete agree

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 8, 2021 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      And don’t forget the rushed swine flu jab here in the UK.

  3. Adams
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    See today’s Conservative Woman if you like some perspective on the true position we are in .
    There is a vid on there that proves conclusively that lockdowns make no difference to Covid figures.Boris is being grossly mislead . I cannot imagine that happening to M Thatcher . You MPs must stop acting as rubber stamps for this lunatic wrecking of everything we have built in this Country.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 8, 2021 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      So if lockdowns do not work, how do you explain the tail off of infections and hospital admissions after each one.

      It cannot be herd immunity, because if that was the case we would of had only the first spike.

      I certainly agree lockdowns are a very, very blunt instrument, but if people refuse or are incapable of sensibly self distancing themselves, to protect both themselves and others, then what is left.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted January 8, 2021 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      If ‘Boris’ is being grossly misled I presume it is thought he can’t think for himself. It would rather write plainly. It is we who are being grossly mislead. Maybe we should take heart from those who walked up the steps of the Capitol in the US. We could throw some people out of our rotten and weak parliament and that would include the well meaning but fatally and embarassingly naive.

  4. Linda Jones
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I wonder why you didn’t see fit to vote against these lockdown measures, that are bringing down even more misery and despair on the heads of people, including thos in your own constituency.

  5. G Wheatley
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Thank you.

    Did you manage to get any sensible responses to those questions during the debate itself?

    Reply. No. I am following up

    • G Wheatley
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I have a suggestion re: two further questions which you might be inclined to ask of both the Health Secretary & S.A.G.E. :-

      1) Can they make crystal clear – and prominently publish – what the formula is that they use to calculate the ‘R’ number, together with a set of actual input data for the public to see how it works?

      2) How many fatalities have – and are – been attributed to seasonal Influenza? (The Government seems to have stopped publishing that data since early October 2020 – https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-national-flu-reports-2019-to-2020-season#history ).

      Many thanks.
      GW.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 8, 2021 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        I would also like to know the numbers with seasonal flu too. Our hospitals are always under pressure this time of year. Also, why are hospital bed numbers being reduced when the population is expanding? I heard a nurse on the news yesterday tell an elderly patient that the vaccine would stop her contracting Covid. Surely this is misleading? Like the flu vaccine all it does is reduce the severity of the symptoms which will hopefully reduce deaths.

        • Fred H
          Posted January 8, 2021 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          there are no flu problems -zero. All are Covid, and any deaths recorded as such.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Where is everyone catching this Chinese germ from? Surely test and trace can tell us that?

    How many of the infective are being tested multiple times. So of the 50K testing positive yesterday, how many were the 50K who tested positive this time last week? Website publish stats on unique visitors I would like to see similar for Covid

  7. Sakara Gold
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I’m disappointed by this speech. You have made much better ones and posted them here for us to enjoy. It’s too short for one thing and secondly, it fails to mention the zero virus strategy that has been so successful in the Antipodes and other island nations, like Taiwan and Singapore.

    Reply We were all limited to 3 minutes!

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 8, 2021 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Some people are never satisfied. Isn’t it obvious to you that Sir John must be one if the hardest working MP’S in the country? Your post is extremely rude.

  8. a-tracy
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    At a hospital in our area yesterday it was reported they had 200 people ill in hospital with covid 19 representing 50% of the total people in hospital, so they are dealing with 400 patients. How many staff do they have – they don’t say, how many doctors, surgeons, consultants available on duty? They revealed, “185 of the hospital’s staff were absent at present, with 60 per cent of those being Covid positive and the other 40 per cent self-isolating.” But they didn’t say what % of staff that was?

    “Worryingly, the last few days have seen younger people admitted …, with no underlying health conditions. This is a new development and sadly, two have died.”

    She wasn’t questioned about: 1. What treatment they had received? 2. When did they get ill? 3. When were they admitted? 4. Why did they die, did they go on ventilators? 5. What age were they? She said, “Two young people have died of covid” the article also said ‘no underlying conditions’ and no more questions were asked. I’m sorry but Hands, Face, Space isn’t cutting it anymore we must know more. How can we trust the advice when we’re only given half a story.

    We’re being asked to “stay at home”, well love I don’t know about you but everything was shut on 23rd December two weeks ago, where do you think we’re going!?

  9. Fred H
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Sir John, lots of perfectly fair questions for a Government to answer, or still working on obtaining answers.
    Sadly as has been the case with Johnson’s administration – plenty of wild bluster, few tangible, accurate answers.
    Please keep trying to ‘hold his feet to the fire’.

  10. David W
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Swiss Policy Research round up of studies/trials using Ivermectin as of today.
    Is this drug being used?

    Ivermectin is effective for COVID-19: real-time meta analysis of 29 studies• 100% of the 29 studies to date report positive effects. Early treatment is more successful, with an estimated reduction of 85% in the effect measured using a random effects meta-analysis, RR 0.15 [0.06-0.41]. Prophylactic use also shows high effectiveness.

    • 100% of the 11 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) report positive effects, with an estimated reduction of 73%, RR 0.27 [0.13-0.55].

    • The probability that an ineffective treatment generated results as positive as the 29 studies to date is estimated to be 1 in 537 million (p = 0.0000000019).

    Early treatment85% improvementRR 0.15 [0.06-0.41]Late treatment48% improvementRR 0.52 [0.36-0.74]Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis91% improvementRR 0.09 [0.03-0.26]Post-Exposure Prophylaxis90% improvementRR 0.10 [0.06-0.17]

    Total; 29 studies, 205 authors, 12,620 patients, RCT11 studies 92, authors 1,819 patients

    Reply Not reported as approved and used in UK

    • Stred
      Posted January 9, 2021 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      If they used it the vaccination route wouldn’t be needed. The big drug companies lobby to ignore Ivermectin and HCQ.

  11. Alison
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for voting against this.

  12. Christine
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Great questions and they keep being asked but never answered. This is a great concern. What has happened to our country? We are being oppressed and lied to.

  13. Iago
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    “I hope that the roll-out of the vaccine will go well and will be speeded up.”
    I have read that there has been no/very little research as to whether the corona virus vaccines affect pregnant women. Is it the government’s plan to vaccinate pregnant women or women of child-bearing age? Has this point even been addressed by the politicians? I have just received a vaccine, which has been used for about three decades. The instructions say, ‘Do not receive (this vaccine) if you are pregnant (in addition, pregnancy should be avoided for 1 month after vaccination).

  14. Mactheknife
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I have asked many of the same questions of my MP with little progress.He assure me he is constant contact with ministers and government advisors directly, but I don’t seem to get any great detail except the standard Boris line. In our discussions we have both agreed that continued and frequent lock downs are not the answer, but this seems to be the strategy i.e. Lock down and wait for a vaccine. We have had ample time to prepare but although we have a better vaccination rate that other countries I can’t help feeling there is much more we could do.
    In terms of other drug treatments, I have seen and read much on line about the anti- inflammatory drug Ivermectin, with scientists and academics extolling its capabilities in combating the virus in infected people. I have asked the question of many people without a response but is this one of the treatments the government are looking at ?

  15. formula57
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Spoken for England! Thank you Sir John.

    The Government must now provide good and sufficient answers.

  16. DaveK
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
    • Stred
      Posted January 9, 2021 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately PHE is recommending s dose which is a quarter or less of the dose recommended by the leading doctors in nutrition.

  17. Everhopeful
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Thank God you are very worried JR.
    I honestly thought that no one was!

  18. UK Politics T for C
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Today its announced that all international arrivals are required to prove negative COVID-19 test result before departure for England. Far too late (yet again) and what of the illegals STILL being lifted from the Channel to be brought in. How can this government be sure they have not brought in the new variant???

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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