My speech during the debate on the Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations, 13 October 2020

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): The Government are desperately trying to find that balance point between protecting livelihoods and protecting lives, and I am grateful to them for all they are doing to try to bring that off, but the only way forward is to get maximum buy-in from the public. There is no perfect set of rules or laws that can be enforced. We do not have enough police and that would require a mighty explanation task, so the more they can do by means of persuasion, the better.

Sharing with the public the dangers and showing them how hand washing, distancing and not mingling in enclosed spaces are going to work are the way forward. I am apprehensive about how much of this is enforceable.

Test and trace can work only if people who are traced are willing to co-operate. Quite a lot of people leave funny names, apparently, or they are not available when people are trying to contact them, or when they are told that they are a contact, they decide they are too busy to follow the procedures. They might genuinely be too busy and have real conflicts in their lives about looking after relatives, sorting out children, cooking meals at home or whatever it is, and it is very difficult suddenly to isolate if they do not have the property and the means to do all that, so we need to carry them with us. There needs to be a more energetic reliance on persuasion and less on formal rules.

My other worry about this strategy is that we need a plan B for the possibility that there is no early and successful vaccine. We all hope that the Secretary of State is right and we all hope that, by spring, there is a vaccine that works that can be produced at scale and that enough people want to take it so the problem goes away, but there might not be and this might fall down on one or more of those requirements. I urge the Government to think through what is plan B, because we do not want this continuous cycle where the virus pops up, we impose controls, the virus goes down a bit, we relax the controls and the virus pops up again.

That is deeply destructive to social life and community life. It is going to destroy many more businesses and many more livelihoods. Many more jobs are going to be lost. Businesses need some greater certainty that they will be able to trade, so I urge the Government to be more open with us about what is plan B for no vaccine and more open with everyone about how long these controls have to last and what their purposes are.

The 10 o’clock rule has become the iconic one that is opposed by some and supported by others. The problem with it is that people find easy ways round it. They comply with leaving the pub, but then congregate in each other’s homes and use off-licence booze. They might be breaking the rule of six, but feel that is a tolerable thing to do. The police cannot go to everybody’s home to find out whether they are breaking the rule of six, but they can enforce turning out the pubs. It might be worse for people to drink at home than to drink in the pub, so rules have their limitations. Let us get more buy-in by persuasion. That is our job as politicians.


  1. Peter
    October 14, 2020

    “Let us get more buy in by persuasion.”

    Unfortunately the government, in line with globalist media, prefer to shut down opposing views and sing from the same questionable hymn sheet.

    Thus the suppressing and subsequent arrest of the German doctor scheduled to speak at Trafalgar Square and reporting on the contrarian views in a recent report which may or may not be allowed to be named on this site.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      October 14, 2020

      The correct “balance” is what countries as diverse as New Zealand and Japan, and China and Senegal have done.

      That is, to prevent the spread of disease and loss of life, and in so doing keep the economy in reasonable shape. The first is a necessity for the second, so John’s party have failed emphatically on both.

      There is no competition between the two at all if done properly – quite the opposite.

      1. Edward2
        October 14, 2020

        You keep using odd nations Martin
        Senegal where the average age is about 20
        New Zealand where population density is a fraction of the UK and who closed down their isolated nation.
        Japan who wore masks years ago and have one of the worlds most disciplined racially pure nations on Earth.
        And China who you foolishly believe everything they say.

        1. Fred H
          October 15, 2020

          thank you putting the honest version forward instead of make-believe.

    2. Hope
      October 14, 2020

      Absolutely Peter. Or might it be Mays Snooper charter allowing a host of public sector bodies to spy on our computer use- even foods standard agency! The largest spy to date being the local authorities! Why do they need to know, let alone have the right, to snoop to see which sites we use?

      David Davis asked for check and balance of a warrant, bear in mind vast majority of citizens are not criminals!

      It is very clear the police, Met in particular, have become left wing political bodies deciding who can or cannot speak! Peaceful demonstrations now forbidden. Acts of vandalism caused by the likes of ER, criminal damage to statues and BLM allowed while the police watch or kneel on bended knee.

      No mention of any of this from JRs speech! Darren Grimes cases, electorial commission, cancel culture at universities or Toby Youngs Free speech society. Why should we need a free speech society!

    3. Sir Patrick Vaccine
      October 14, 2020

      Dr Jay Bhattacharya Great Barrington Declaration co-author: (Talk Radio You Tube)

      Dr Jay Bhattacharya, co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration: “The current lockdown strategy seeks herd immunity. That is the end point. The question is how much death and suffering will there be in the meantime?”

  2. beresford
    October 14, 2020

    Pubs and gyms are just getting back on their feet. There is little scientific evidence that they are significant sites of spread, but there is evidence that gym-going increases the ability to resist the virus. The main sites of spread are schools and offices. Nobody wants these to close but the Government should not compensate by punishing the ‘bad’ people who use leisure facilities, or the many young workers employed there.

    1. a-tracy
      October 14, 2020

      “The main sites of spread are schools and offices”

      Have we actually got facts about this on say just the Liverpool spike of people requiring hospital treatment?

      The people in hospital right now, who were they mixing with, if they were over retirement age it probably wasn’t in the office or school. Did they mix with their young grandchildren going to school, family who were working in offices, how are we gathering the evidence?

      I read that 20% of covid infections were caught in hospital, patients tested as negative before going in, coming out with covid.

    2. Anonymous
      October 14, 2020

      and to think we once lived free and ignored the flu, we must have been crazy?

    3. Anonymous
      October 14, 2020

      Anyone dying of anything who was recently tested are being put down as hospital admissions and deaths, the more they test the more the numbers go up. The real goal is to shut the pubs as they are dangerous places of potential revolution.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        October 14, 2020

        In Rhodesia every home had a ‘bar’. I think Oz still does. I am making space for one so the conversations continue.

  3. Mary M.
    October 14, 2020

    Thank you, Sir John.

    Many of us feel so powerless, unable to do anything to stop what seems like a juggernaut mowing down our centuries-old traditions, and our communities.

    As I have said before, people who value democracy can sign the petition: Repeal the Coronavirus Act 2020.

    100,000 signatures are needed for it to be considered by the Speaker for debate in Parliament. There are 89, 192 signatures as I write.

  4. Sir Patrick Vaccine
    October 14, 2020

    But just to run through some figures: in March, before lockdown was imposed, the Office for Budget Responsibility was forecasting a deficit for this financial year of £55 billion. In July, after three months of lockdown, the Institute for Fiscal Studies was forecasting that the deficit would turn out to be £350 billion. On that basis, we might crudely say that lockdown costs the public purse around £25 billion a week — i.e. £50 billion for a two-week circuit break. That’s a pretty stiff price for a could of weeks of delay to the epidemic.

    WRITTEN BY Ross Clark – Spectator

    1. Hope
      October 14, 2020


      And the virus would still be here.

      Local lock downs – Johnson and co claimed it made no effect letting in millions on flights from virus hot spots during the first lock down! Hancock’s czar, Dido Harding, sitting on the board of Cheltenham races demanding it went ahead! Look at New York the lock down did not work.

      JRs govt thinks it can turn the economy on and off like a light switch. Idiotic in the extreme.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        October 14, 2020

        Seriously dangerous!

  5. Newmania
    October 14, 2020

    Let me guess , plan B is that I dice with death, while you sit at home in your slacks and ugg boots ?

    1. No Longer Anonymous
      October 14, 2020

      No chance of ever getting you in army boots, was there !

      And ‘dicing with death’ is what you have to do for freedom once in a while and thank god there have been real men prepared to do it while you were in your office in your Hush Puppies.

      (Driving to the office in your car is probably ten times more lethal than CV-19)

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      October 14, 2020

      Don’t worry Newmania, the Devil looks after his own.

  6. Ian @Barkham
    October 14, 2020

    Sir John

    The PM was very close on Monday to suggesting he realised he needed the cooperation of those in local Government to get this wretched Corvid under control. But he didn’t quite get there.

    Imposing dictatorial rules and laws from a far is no way to win the hearts and minds of the people. Far better for the Government to furnish local communities with the information about the situation in their own areas and offer the help they need to tackle it.

    Laws don’t help in this situation. All over the MsM today was images of the last fling being had by all in Liverpool. Those images clearly demonstrated the respect this government has garnered from the people causing the problem – absolutely none. The existing rules laws etc were being broken, so what respect will there be for any new restrictions. It is simple because this is a remote bullying government that no one pays attention to it. If the local community, their Mayors, Councillors, Police was taking responsibility to stamp this out they would have done by now.

    1. Everhopeful
      October 14, 2020

      I say thank God for the people of Liverpool. Maybe all is not yet lost?

    2. Philip P.
      October 14, 2020

      The government has lost the support of the public it had at first, because more and more people can see through its gross dishonesty – fiddling the figures, doing the opposite of sheltering the vulnerable, and basing policy on a now discredited test procedure.

      For all your ‘urging’, Sir John, it will not get it back.

    3. IanT
      October 14, 2020

      I can’t agree with you. The people ignoring the guidance aren’t doing so because they are not aware of the rules or because they were created in London. They do so because it’s personally inconvenient and they just don’t care enough. It only takes a small percentage of people of this ilk to counter any attempt to stamp this virus out.

      The first lock-down worked because (frankly) people were scared after seeing people dying in Italy. Now many people have decided that Covid is not so scary and they can get away with doing as they want. I keep hearing “if we get Track & Trace going – all will be well” – but I know several people who openly admit that they don’t give their real names or phone number if they can avoid it. Given that fact – I’m surprised T&T is finding anyone at all.

      Whatever ‘solution’ is adopted – it will be very much subject to everyone obeying the rules and doing their bit. Until that time, nothing is going to fix this mess. Perhaps when everyone gets really scared that it might actually effect them personally, they will start taking notice. How long does this crisis have to go on before we get to that point?

  7. ian
    October 14, 2020

    I was hoping to see the school holidays in full swing but las they want to shut down for two weeks over the school holidays.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      October 14, 2020

      We were hoping to see grandchildren who have grown up – learned to read, play rugby etc since the last time we saw them.
      This is cruel to us all, including the children.
      Our family was going to drive 5 hours each way for 3 hours with us in the garden. Now we are not allowed to meet even there.
      Blast Boris to hell. I would not vote for any party he is a member of even with a gun in my mouth.

      1. Fred H
        October 15, 2020

        you may be spared that – how can the party staring total annihilation at the polls continue with the mop-haired fool? Panto beckons for his next job.

  8. Everhopeful
    October 14, 2020

    If you politicians believe they are fulfilling their role in keeping us safe,
    then would you kindly desist.
    You are taking us down a very dangerous route.
    You are putting people in uniform to enforce Covid law. How long before Dear Leader gives them right of entry?
    When we get a disease that is 80% harmful rather than 80% harmless THEN people will start washing their hands to the govt’s satisfaction.

  9. Everhopeful
    October 14, 2020

    IDS for PM!
    Actually talking sense.

    1. glen cullen
      October 14, 2020

      Agree – get my vote

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      October 14, 2020

      Micky mouse would be an improvement!

  10. No Longer Anonymous
    October 14, 2020

    Even Spring is way too late to save the economy from social distancing.

    It won’t be Spring anyway. This virus has at least 18 months to shakeout going on previous.

    We are going to have to go for herd immunity (and don’t believe what Martin says, he’s wrong) and shield the vulnerable anyway.

    The only thing stopping this now is arse covering.

    Accept it. Britain is now finished. London has been killed by Boris, SAGE, Hancock and Prime Minister Whitty.

    In two years it is going to resemble Manaus a lot more than Stockholm.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      October 15, 2020

      Eighty of the most eminent scientists in the field are upon whom I base my comments.

      Survivor Immunity is a completely unprincipled, murderous fallacy.

      1. Edward2
        October 15, 2020

        So the scientists who disentangle and number more than 80 are ignored
        Is this democratic science?
        Should the group with the most on their side be the established view?
        Or ought we to listen to the few who have dissenting opinions?

        1. Edward2
          October 15, 2020

          distangle is the most odd auto correct.
          should say dissent

  11. Fred H
    October 14, 2020

    Constantly changing the rules has not worked. Many are nonsense and contrary. Recent ones are onerous on business recovery from disaster – that is the correct word for it – and almost all unenforceable. However some simple ones can be done. Pairs of Police can be assigned to London (and other cities) to do random checks on masks etc. I’d suggest a couple of pairs visiting each Tube line carriages – on and off at random stops – issuing penalty fines for non-compliance would soon be published on social media and might alert people to comply.
    Vigilance is not required in restaurants, but serious non-compliance should be reported in Pubs. Closing at 10pm will probably lead to faster drinking earlier and have little effect.
    An early publicised shutdown could have been planned for this half-term – the reduction in social mixing for 2 weeks might well have made a major difference.

    1. glen cullen
      October 14, 2020

      If only we had enough police to tackle crime

      1. Dave Ward
        October 15, 2020

        “If only we had enough police to tackle crime”

        There seem to be sufficient armed officers in Liverpool to descend on a Gym which was still open…

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      October 14, 2020

      Let’s ensure masks at the Despatch box! We want to hear nothing further, let them mumble into their masks – they are bandits even without!

  12. a-tracy
    October 14, 2020

    How can you persuade people when the Labour party talks out of both sides of its mouth locally.

    The people don’t believe your government anymore because the local politicians tell them its all a pack of lies.

    This Wales banning English people, I truly hope you have banned Welsh people going into the Countess of Chester Hospital or is it just the English as always taking these tinpot rulers decisions. If no borders are to be crossed that cuts both ways Drakeford. No shopping for the Welsh in Bristol, Gloucester, Chester. Close the severn crossing both ways.

    Do the Scottish agitators really expect no border in the UK, they just expect us to roll over as we did with the Southern Irish. Your government had best start looking out for England soon John.

    1. JoolsB
      October 14, 2020

      “Your government had best start looking out for England soon John.“

      I think if one thing the last 10 years under a Tory Government have shown us a-tracy is Tory Governments, there by the grace of England alone, treat England with the same contempt as Labour. It’s time we started to show them the same contempt and stopped voting for them.

  13. Caterpillar
    October 14, 2020

    It appears that under the spread of dictatorship, a behaviour exemplified by the P.M. and Govt, that Wales has now effectively seceded from the U.K. (an action apparently supported by Scotland), declaring that other members from the U.K will not cross its borders. And this is clearly a matter of the border with England, irrespective of what mealy-mouthed words may be spoken.

    What route does the P.M. now have to act to restore both democracy and liberty, whilst maintaining the union? Will the P.M. deploy the army to keep the borders open? Will the P.M. deploy the army to secure English interests (e.g. Elan Valley and aqueduct)?

    Autonomous closing of borders (by the Welsh Labour Party) has confirmed the end of the U.K., this is what comes from uncritically following very narrow ‘science’ and not balancing it in anyway against its impact.

    Hopefully the Welsh act of secession will help the P.M. realise that Covid19 is not the biggest problem and that he should immediately return to defending liberty and democracy. The Welsh Govt has effectively made a choice to leave the U.K. and the P.M. needs to respond one way or the other; by accepting and confirming a full withdrawal or ending devolution. The P.M. needs to start thinking again.

  14. Adam
    October 14, 2020

    Schemes intended to encourage correct behaviour should be planned with their dynamics exerting movement toward the right direction.

    On Earth, gravity works by pulling. If you want a man to do something, forcing him from behind would encourage him to resist where he doesn’t want to go. Conservatives need more allure.

    A man might prefer not to reveal his ID, or may feel bothered at being pursued by the spectre of a trail of nuisance. He might attend a hairdresser and give false contact details as his easier way out, safe among 4 million similar others unafraid of having their doors knocked down by all the fuzz delivering a £1000 fine.

    If you want people to cooperate, you should make it in their interest to do so. You need a LURE. If instead of a £1k fine the man, by entering Test and Trace received a stake in a county Covid 19 Lottery, with the prospect of gaining £19,000, he might do what you want with pleasure and zeal. Folk might even help the hairdresser by having their locks shaved every week, just for the opportunity of being rewarded for complying the law. And Govt might spend its budget more efficiently.

    A LURE: a solution?

  15. JoolsB
    October 14, 2020

    How can you honestly expect the public to follow the rules when many of those making them are blatantly breaking them? A publican no doubt already struggling to keep his business going was fined £1,000 for still having customers in at 4 minutes past 10 yet MPs were buying bottles of wine minutes before 10 to guzzle well after. This plus Johnson and his cabinet of schoolboys appear clueless as to what to do next. The public have lost all faith in this Government so good luck if they try another national lockdown. If the first lockdown didn’t work, what makes the idiots think a second one will be any different? As for the 10.00 curfew it makes no sense whatsoever but it’s all about saving face now rather than admitting it’s a mistake and to hell with the consequences. Many of them have never run a business or held a proper job in their lives and on their 100% guaranteed salaries and jobs, are clueless to the devastation they are causing. Many Tory MPs know this but only one, Chris Green, MP for Bolton has had the guts to resign in protest at the sheer incompetence and devastation Johnson’s policies are having on the economy and people’s lives.

  16. an
    October 14, 2020

    Life has changed forever in the Uk…the govt created panic and now 50 per cent of you are so scared of life you can never live your life. A sorry state of affairs especially for the young. If you are given the gift of life then use the small time you have here to live don’t just exist…

  17. an
    October 14, 2020

    Yes, as Kary Mullis always said, until his untimely death just as the virus began at the end of last year, you can’t and shouldn’t be using his process, for which he won the Nobel Prize, as a “test” for disease.

    It’s a method for producing massive samples for study of the tiniest scrap of D/RNA.

    Proponents of the “test” claim it looks for exact unique strands of COVID19 virus. But there could be hundreds of unidentified coronaviruses out there, any one of which could have matching strands.

    Even if the strand is unique to COVID19 it could match with a dead or inactive virus found in your body, or just one piece of a destroyed COVID19 virus left in your body, or one bit of live, inactive, or dead virus that has just blown up your nose a moment before the “test”, or contamination of the “test” sample after it’s been taken!.

    The “test” then doubles what was found with every cycle.

    After twenty cycles you have over a million copies.

    Many experts say that if you’re using it to “test” for viruses you shouldn’t run it for more than 23 cycles (8 Million copies), 25 cycles (33 Million copies), never mind 27 cycles (124M+ copies) as if you need that many there was not enough to make you ill.

    But many “testers” use 30 cycles to get over a BILLION copies!

    Or even 35 cycles getting over 34 BILLION copies.

    But apparently “testers” in the UK don’t even stop there and push on to a crazy 45 cycles which gives 35,184,372,088,832 copies:


    At 50 to 60 cycles (1,152,921,504,606,846,976 – a Quintillion?! -copies!!) EVERYONE “tests” “positive”!!!

  18. Jasper
    October 14, 2020

    I have been told the average age of Covid death in the UK 82.4 years. Average life expectancy in the UK 81.5 years – is this correct ??
    What are peoples thoughts about this if it is correct !
    Thank you

    1. glen cullen
      October 14, 2020

      Start plan B – herd immunity

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      October 14, 2020

      Jasper the facts have no bearing. Winning arguments is inconsequential, we are dealing with madmen.

    3. Caterpillar
      October 14, 2020


      It doesn’t say much. Life expectancy of 81.5 years is what to expect at birth, once through the first few years of childhood it goes up. For a current 80 year old life expectancy is high eighties. Nonetheless this is for 80 year olds on average, many who have died have been in homes (typically associated with another 2 years additional life expectancy), many of those who have died have had comorbidities so again that sub population would be lower.

      One can turn the consideration around and ask how many life years have been and will be saved by the interventions. For example suppose 200,000 lives have been saved at an average of 10 years each (it may not be that high). Then for the economic cost 2,000,000 life years will have been saved. If the economic cost reduces life expectancy of 60 million people by 2 weeks each that equates to 2.3 million life years. This is of course a simple illustrative calculation, perhaps I have done it wrong (I would love to be corrected), but I find it very difficult to see the balance in the Hancock-ian approach.

  19. Tim Bidie
    October 15, 2020

    Dear Sir,

    Sooner or later, for one reason or another, the government will decide that they need a way to return the country to normality.

    The best way to do that would be to emulate those countries who have done better both in terms of health and economic outcomes than we have: Japan and Sweden.

    Sweden had some problems in care homes, but Japan protected their elderly and infirm.

    We can do the same: frequent hand washing, high standards of hygiene, restricted access, disciplined movement/human interactions by care home workers and voluntary BCG vaccination for those healthcare workers/elderly/vulnerable who have not been so vaccinated.

    There are references to support this course of action, which I can provide if required.

    Yours sincerely

    Tim Bidie

  20. Bryan Harris
    October 15, 2020

    Is the government is being led by the nose by bad advice, or is it deliberately sticking to solutions that bring no result?

    We have the half-term lock down to look forward to, but when that fails we will get forced into a complete lock down….. Do they really care so little about what happens to our society when it become totally bankrupt, with no jobs, and no hope …. That they cannot think outside the box and come up with alternative ideas?

  21. Dave Ward
    October 15, 2020

    “So I urge the Government to be more open with us about what is plan B”

    How do we know if there even IS a plan B???

  22. Fred H
    October 15, 2020

    As I pointed out months ago:-

    A scientist who processed coronavirus swab samples at one of the UK’s largest labs has alleged working practices were “chaotic and dangerous”. He highlighted overcrowded biosecure workspaces, poor safety protocols and a lack of suitable PPE. The Health and Safety Executive has uncovered safety breaches at the lighthouse lab in Milton Keynes.
    The UK Biocentre, which runs the lab, said strict safety measures were in place and improvements were being made.
    The joint investigation by the BBC and the Independent has learnt that an experienced virologist who worked at the lab said he was “traumatised” and “freaked out” by seeing inexperienced colleagues unaware of the hazards they were dealing with.

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