My speech during the debate on Covid-19, 12 January 2021

We have done many more tests than many other countries, and I pay tribute to Ministers and the NHS for all the hard work that has gone into achieving that. We are now vaccinating many more people than in other countries. We have got ahead, and that is very good news. As the Government see the main way out for us to relax the controls as being the vaccination of many more people, we wish everyone every speed and success in rolling out those vaccines.

I also think congratulations are in order for finding two more treatments that can make a difference to the death rate and reduce the length of time people suffer with a severe form of the disease, but what about ivermectin, which some doctors in other countries say can also achieve good results and reduce the death rate? It would be useful to know what progress is being made with the UK tests and whether that might ever be a recommended treatment, because the more treatments we can have to cut the death rate the better.

I would also be interested to know what our experts think about why there have been such differential case rates and death rates around the world. Unfortunately, the UK has now joined the group of countries where the death rate is over 0.1% of the total population, which means quite a lot of deaths, as we know to our sorrow and cost.

We have joined many other countries in that grouping, but why is it that countries like Sweden and Brazil have not yet got to 0.1% when some have been very critical of the way they have handled the virus, and why do many Asian countries seem to have got through with much less damage? What does the international research tell us about the reasons? Why is it, too, that a country such as Belgium has been blighted by such a high death rate and a pretty high case rate? Of course, testing more means that we identify more cases, but our case rate is still not one of the worst in the world, so clearly some of the actions taken are having a beneficial impact.

I also urge the Government to do rather more for the self-employed and small businesses. They are bearing the brunt of the economic damage of the policies being pursued, and more could be done, particularly for those small businesses and the self-employed who have not received any help at all.

Many of them are in business areas in which there have been closures for the best part of a year now, and in which social contact is very important for the business model, meaning their revenues are well down. We are going to need them, and we need a recovery fairly soon.

So I wish every success to those doing the vaccinations, and I hope we can then lift some of the restrictions, because we want to have a vibrant small business and small enterprise sector available to power the recovery we so desperately need.

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  1. James Bertram
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    ‘I hope we can then lift some of the restrictions,’.

    Somewhat feeble! What about getting back to normal? Do you intend to have restrictions every winter? What restrictions do you hope we do not lift?
    Come on, Sir John – when the country is being run as a dictatorship, with many people losing their lives and livelihoods to these lockdowns, far more than are being saved by the government’s ludicrous and pseudo-scientific interventions, you should be far more outspoken than this.

    • Wanda Grenville Hill
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Im afraid that the Government has completely lost the plot – it is highly likely that many of their supporters will be staying away from the ballot box come the next set of elections ( May ? )
      Sadly , I fear this appalling Covid strategy which has decimated the economy , together with people’s lives and futures – all for an illness , very similar to the flue , with a deathrate ( predominately amongst the over 80s ) of aprox less than 1% of the population , most with many underlying existent health issues , will cost the Conservatives the next election .

      • Chi Zilla
        Posted January 15, 2021 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        Election? Have you not noticed that we are living in a dictatorship, governed by fiat?

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      James, I believe people are more scared of having severe covid and having to to go into hospital, we are told every night they can’t treat this, if you have A, B or AB blood you are likely to be more severely affected. The hospitals are overwhelmed, their staff are exhausted (exhausted staff make mistakes), they have too many off on sick leave and shielding and can’t then open up sufficient beds, oxygen treatments don’t appear to be working for over 60’s and god help you if you have to go on a ventilator.

      They say, without presenting the evidence the rise from end September was caused by the ‘eat out to help out scheme’ – nothing mentioned about all those jetting off on their holidays in the summer holidays, or their children spreading it as they always do when back at school/university – no it was eating out at distance with all the safety measures.

      We’re not allowed to ask for Track and Trace evidence of spread? If they have it provide it.

    • sam
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      The reason we have apparently got a death rate over 0.1% is because people are counted as a covid death if they die within 28 days of a positive PCR test. PCR tests are flawed if they cycle more than 30 times as they do in the UK. A positive test does not mean someone is ill. The test cannot distinguish between a live or dead virus nor the common cold which is also a corona virus. Perhaps other countries are more honest in their testing.
      What you need to look at is total deaths and compare with previous years.
      I do not understand why last seasons deaths are added onto this new season that started in September. Deaths are usually counted over the winter months. We should have started counting from zero in September 2020

  2. Peter
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    You can ask all the questions you like. Congratulations are always welcome to ‘big up’ the image of the Conservative party.

    However, the question many would ask is why we are listening to Whitty and Vallance and ignoring or suppressing evidence from other sources.

    It might be useful, politically, to have two front men to justify it and then continue with more of the same.

    However many members of the public no longer buy into this.

    As for small business and the economy, it has been clear for a very long time the government could not care less about them. Government takes its cue from the World Economic Forum and has even adopted its slogan ‘build back better’.

  3. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    A second wave was widely predicted by our Government and experts, what preparation was made for that seasonal prospect?

    Do our experts accept that Covid collateral deaths will continue for years and far exceed Covid deaths?

    Do our experts accept it would be financially impossible to repeat this modus operandi?

    Will parliament reject the NHS sacred cow approach for the future and make dramatic changes to its management e.g. Trusts totally responsible to local councils?

  4. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    We just need to sit tight, get the vaccinations done and see what happens.

    Praise where it’s due. The Government is doing a good job on this by comparison to others and must keep it up.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:00 pm | Permalink


    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      No Longer, I am not going to have the vaccine. I would take HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) – as many countries with endemic malaria do, and have low covid19 infections – as a prophylactic, with zinc of course. It seems that those of us who would take HCQ are being prevented from doing so by the government.

      • Wanda Grenville Hill
        Posted January 15, 2021 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Why is hydroxychloroquine being ignored and ostracised when its use in many third world countries is both common and effective ?

        • sam
          Posted January 15, 2021 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          because its cheap and then noone would want the vaccine which is very profitable $$$$$

        • Chi Zilla
          Posted January 15, 2021 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          Not profitable!
          Same for Ivermectin.

  5. Caterpillar
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    A thoughtful speech again.

    How was the “some” in, “so clearly some of the actions taken are having a beneficial impact” expressed?

    In many studies the role of NPIs is not significant (or even of the wrong sign). The “some” does allow for the recognition that other (even most) actions are having zero or deleterious effects, or it may give credit for a presumed (but actually uncorrelated) cause-effect relationship.

    • Hope
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      The testing is and has been abysmal! PCR testing credited with so many false positives and unreliable data.

  6. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    It is not starting the vaccination program first which has international significance.

    It is completing it.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      It is likely that the Govt’s decision to run an independent vaccination policy and not join with the EU’s – a decision loudly criticised when announced – will turn out to have saved thousands of lives.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Denmark – and probably along with others – has already overtaken the UK in its schedule for vaccinations, that is, when respective groups can expect theirs.

        • Fred H
          Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          compared to France?

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 14, 2021 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          You revel in anti-UK rhetoric Martin. There is a word for people like you.

          Denmark’s total population around 5 million and you’re comparing the UK with Denmark, don’t be silly.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Heaven knows I am no apologist for this government, but you really are a specialist in being negative. You must be a lot of fun to live with. I wonder if you will crawl under a stone if we not only start the vaccination first but, taking into account population, finish it first too.

      No doubt, in that situation, you will find fault and say it was not finished quickly enough. There truly is no pleasing some people.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Negative as usual Martin. Change the record.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Indeed good points but is this “over testing” of people actually achieving very much other than giving us highly misleading cause of death figures in most cases?

    The lesson from the rather pathetic food parcels delivered is never let goverment take £30 off tax payers cream off £25 and give back £5 in the form of goods or services (probably not even wanted or needed). This applies to lunch boxes, the NHS, schools, universities, the BBC, insulation grants, smart meters and very much else.

    Leave the money with the tax payers who earned it. It is economic insanity. But then perhaps some MPs were “consultants” to these companies.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Agree, simply cannot understand why the Government got involved in this in the first place.
      Surely if parents are really that hard up that they cannot afford to feed their kids, then surely they are due some sort of support.

      If the Government is going to give help of some sort, then surely Vouchers stamped “in exchange for food only” would be the sensible solution.

      The parents have to go shopping for food anyway so then they can select what is suitable, after all they should know what their own kids eat rather better than a distant box filler.
      The present scheme absolute madness.

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 14, 2021 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Alan, a single mother not working with two children gets approx £400.00 weekly under Universal credit (around £20,852 per annum net.)

        We are seeing people paying £100 per month in Sky sports subscriptions in the next tweet complaining about their food box. There is also a guy with three bottles of booze in one tweet complaining about not having enough food for his kids. A full audit needs doing. The public needs to have more information about just how much Universal Credit is being given because payments are increased, there are only takeaways and supermarkets open so why can’t these families manage.

        The company taking our money and providing insufficient boxes just sack them off immediately, they have failed.

    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Not just leave the money with people; leave the medical decisions to us as well.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    As lockdown is clearly doing far more harm than good we should lift it now.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Statistics shop that recent winter COVID deaths seem to be more female, more white, less healthy and even less young.

      In short they are surely not really Covid caused deaths at all.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Statistic show!

        • steve
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          Dont mock…..this government does have such a shop, its called SAGE.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      It should certainly be lifted completely once all in the most vulnerable group have been vaccinated. Most of the deaths are in the over 80 + other serious conditions group and almost all in the 70+ + other conditions group. Meanwhile lockdown is doing serious harm (if not to the the many shouty leftists on fixed state salaries who are its loudest supporters).

    • Simeon
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:28 pm | Permalink


      Usually you are quick to draw attention to this or that article in the Torygraph – sometimes because an article is abhorent, sometimes because you think it has some good points. Today, there were actually two good articles (Sumption and Hoey), when just one is rare, but you neglected to mention them. Perhaps you didn’t want to embarrass our kind host – whose recent comments on the topics in question have left much to be desired – by drawing attention to the fact that even the MSM on this occasion has produced something sensible…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 15, 2021 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        I have not had time, but these two are generally sound.

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Good questions which won’t be answered. A pity the media never ask the experts some of these questions at the Covid briefings preferring to parrot their “Will you resign” type opposition questions.

    One interesting question is whether people who have recovered from Covid can still catch and transmit it to a significant degree, and the same question for vaccinated people. The answer to the first of these must be known given we have a year of data worldwide, and the answer to the second is probably known too. They wouldn’t answer those either – they want to keep that scaremongering going because they don’t want vaccinated or otherwise immune people to break the lockdown rules – it is a pity the government manipulate news in this way – it makes them appear even more untrustworthy than they already are when the truth comes out.

    Another recent example was Whitty saying infections were rising in all parts of the UK when in London they weren’t – again facts taking second place to messaging.

  10. J Bush
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    “I would also be interested to know what our experts think about why there have been such differential case rates and death rates around the world. Unfortunately, the UK has now joined the group of countries where the death rate is over 0.1% of the total population”

    May I suggest one of the reasons was the halt on cancer diagnosis/treatments, which has resulted in avoidable deaths. This same principle can be applied to those with heart or other medical problems.

    It would appear because the NHS had been working as a covid HS for too long, too many people are dying and when admitted as an emergency and tested for covid, if positive and they die, that is listed as a covid death.

    So people are dying because diagnosis/treatment was denied when it is required, and the real reason for their death transferred is lost to government manipulated stats to try and justify its draconian behaviour.

    One example of this failure was reported in my local news. A woman with chest pains phoned 111 and was told she probably had covid. The following day her concerned husband phoned her GP, she was rushed into hospital. Unfortunately, because of the delay in treatment she died of heart failure. My cynicism is such now that I wouldn’t be surprised if the government was not miffed because she tested negative.

    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      J Bush, Very well said. I now know two people who have died of cancer in the last 10 months. One died consequent on his cancer treatment being halted “because of covid” by our CHS. The second died of ongoing cancer (as expected) but was noted as a covid death because he tested positive for covid19 in his last few days.

  11. J Bush
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    “I would also be interested to know what our experts think about why there have been such differential case rates and death rates around the world. Unfortunately, the UK has now joined the group of countries where the death rate is over 0.1% of the total population”

    May I suggest one of the reasons was the halt on cancer diagnosis/treatments, which has resulted in avoidable deaths. This same principle can be applied to those with heart or other medical problems.

    It would appear because the NHS had been working as a covid HS for too long, too many people are dying and when admitted as an emergency and tested for covid, if positive and they die, that is listed as a covid death.

    So people are dying because diagnosis/treatment was denied when it is required, and the real reason for their death is lost because it is transferred to government manipulated stats to try and justify its draconian behaviour.

    One example of this failure was reported in my local news. A woman with chest pains phoned 111 and was told she probably had covid. The following day her concerned husband phoned her GP, she was rushed into hospital. Unfortunately, because of the delay in treatment she died of heart failure. My cynicism is such now that I wouldn’t be surprised if the government was not miffed because she tested negative.

  12. ChrisS
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I see that the Guardian is reporting that the European Commission’s EU food safety agency has decided that Yellow Mealworms are safe for human consumption and are likely to be approved for use in a wide variety of food products.

    Let’s hope that DEFRA makes a quick decision that eating insects is not something they are prepared to approve of here !

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      You have never eaten something with cochineal as a food colouring? It is from a beetle.

  13. a-tracy
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Have we actually got accurate population figures for the UK right now? Where are the figures from do they include all the homeless that the government found rooms for during the lockdown, how many rooms were provided? How many asylum seekers have arrived in 2020? What was net immigration about 500,000 per year since the last census were these all counted?

  14. J Bush
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Small businesses are suffering. My local town shopping centre consists of a Co-op, multiple takeaways, a charity shop, a florist and a clothes shop. This 3rd lockdown is likely to finish the last 2 listed.

    The clothes shops has been there for decades, it was originally opened by the Father of the lady who now runs it, so a long established business. But for how long?

    My disgust at the government for the wanton destruction of so many small businesses for a virus with a 99% survival rate is not printable.

    • Wanda Grenville Hill
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      You voice the opinion of any of us .

  15. a-tracy
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Do you know how many self-employed and small business people haven’t received a 1p of help since March 2020?

    Why doesn’t the government open a portal for applications for aid to see just how big a problem this is and why these poor people are in this situation and not able to access SEISS.

    What money were they living on for the past three years? If they paid UK taxes on these earnings why aren’t they eligible for furlough/SEISS on the declared taxable income? The people earning over £50,000 pa in the previous year are they still not eligible for a furlough type £2500 per month even if they have not been able to earn 1p this past near year? That hardly seems fair when all none working public sector workers are on full pay and we are expected just to support that without question.

  16. Mark B
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon

    I believe those countries in SE Asia have done better because they have antibodies similar to CV19 and that they live in warmer sunnier climates. They also benefit from being more self sufficient and a better diet and low obesity. We need to be careful when comparing countries and death rates – apples and oranges and all that.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. When you see footage of South Koreans walking around – many with masks on – it is unusual to see a fat one.

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        They wear masks because of awful air pollution.

      • NickC
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        It’s even rarer to see a fat North Korean!

        • Fred H
          Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          The Dear Leader is the exception.

  17. Julian Flood
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    One wonders if there is a gastric variant of the Covid virus. If there is and it has been circulating then one would expect countries with more relaxed hygiene standards to have considerable acquired immunity.


    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:54 pm | Permalink


      Many reports suggest they have a higher immunity due to the Sars outbreak a few years ago in Asia etc.

  18. Stephen Priest
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s time for a massive tax on Amazon.

    Send that money straight to all the small businesses.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Ooh, no thanks. I like Amazon. Apart from the excessive packaging.

      I need a new quarter inch to 3.5mm jack cable. Hmmm, shall I drive to Dorchester or Exeter and hope to get one … – or shall I order it on Amazon and have it here tomorrow? Tricky one.

  19. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    One of the four approaches to risk management is the avoidance of risk, another is to manage the risk

    Many Asian countries have taken the avoidance approach. They shut down to eliminate the virus and then did not allow anyone into the country without monitored quarantine. It works.

    We and other European countries chose to manage the risk, allowing movement and not quarantine arrivals. When managing risk there need to be mitigations in place (increased capacity in a health service, paid for shielding etc). We did not mitigate the effects we just stumble from one incident to the next.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      The Asian countries also have better climates than us to combat flu-like illness.

  20. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I hear reports from a number of responsible sources that some people are not turning up for their vaccine appointments, and others when they do, demand and want a particular type.
    Whilst this is a very small minority, it can cause needless disruption and lead to possible vaccine wastage.

    May I suggest the people who want a choice are simply told they will go to the very back of the queue if they do not accept what is on offer (unless refusal is for medical reasons, which really which should have been resolved beforehand).

    To save wastage on those who do not turn up can I suggest the Vaccination centre has a list on hand of those locally who can turn up immediately by receiving a phone call.

    Those who refuse the vaccine should have that fact noted onto their medical records.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I only want the Astra-Zennecca/Oxford one so I think we should be told in advance which we are being offered.

  21. rose
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    How much obesity is there in the Far East, how much diabetes? And how much natural immunity after exposure to previous coronaviruses? High standards of hygiene and formality of manners must help too.

    Each day we are given the deaths, but never the profile. How many centenarians, how many nonegenarians, how many octogenarians? How many men? How many women? How many obese? How many with underlying conditions? How many living in multi occupation?

    • Richard1
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I think fatness may well turn out to have a high correlation with Covid deaths.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Rose, Rose, Rose – we can’t give out figures like that. Wake up! Are you not woke? Fat people cannot be named and shamed and, even worse, BLAMED for their fatness and consequent ill health. I think you might have to go on a re-education course.

  22. L Jones
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Many of us do our own research about these PCR tests – and, even according to their original creator, they should not be used for mass testing. We know all about ”false positive” error and the huge problems this causes. If your minions haven’t passed this information on to you then they are surely failing in their duties. This has been the basic cause of the deep trouble we’re in as a country, this uninformed acceptance of flawed and obsessional testing, besides the incompetence of the government and the complacent attitude of those voting to keep the people in lockdown misery, thus damaging the country still further (while not suffering themselves).

    The trouble we’re in has nothing to do with a mild and fast-vanishing virus. A vaccine for people who are at no risk will not help ameliorate the situation one iota, especially as we’re told the vaccine will make little difference to the restrictions we are all suffering (except those privileged ones) despite your own optimistic words about their being lifted. They won’t be and there will not be a ”recovery”. Many of us have lost everything that made life worth living – and no fine words will EVER bring that back.

    Mass testing has been disastrous, and to compliment the NHS, etc, on orchestrating this disaster is really a quite unbelievable thing to do.

    I’m sincerely glad you can be optimistic – you are one very few who are able to be in the great scheme of things. If you were suffering as we are, that would not make our misery the less. Our precious country is now ruined beyond repair.

    • Wanda Grenville Hill
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      L Jones – I agree with most of what you say – but I do not agree that the situation is unrecoverable . Never underestimate the resilience and ingenuity of the British Bull Dog !

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    It has been said that the new variant is “50% t0 70%” more infectious than the original strain, but yesterday Health Minister Edward Argar upped that to “more than twice as transmissible”. I suppose it could be that he has misinterpreted the data, or it could be that there is now more extensive and more reliable data.

    Either way it is clear that whatever was said about the old strain needs to be reviewed and potentially revised for the new strain. That includes the idea that a separation of 2 metres between people should be sufficient to obviate the need for them to wear masks; there has been a suggestion that the specified distance should now be increased to 3 metres, but as usual we can expect the Prime Minister to drag his feet on that.

    This morning I went on a circular walk of 2 miles up to the surgery for a routine test and then round to the chemist for a prescription, and so back home, in the course of which I encountered about 20 people but found it possible to give all of them a sufficiently wide berth. This is necessary because according to the most recent ONS survey for this area there would be about a 40% chance that one of them was infected, and in any case I did not want any of them to be concerned that I might infect them.

    Over the Christmas holiday the pavements around here were too packed for it to be safe to go out for such a walk without a mask, and made especially dangerous by selfish and inconsiderate runners barging past puffing and panting over everybody else.

    I expect we will have the same this time as last time: too little too late, then when the peak of the wave seems to have passed the same incautious impatience to get people back out and preferably eating nice taxpayer subsidised meals and infecting each other.

  24. beresford
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    We don’t know the actual covid 19 death rate because the politicians falsify the figures. After lunch I watched Nicola Sturgeon gravely announcing ‘the deaths within 24 days of testing positive for covid 19’ before introducing more rules. I’d lay money there won’t be stats for those who die within 28 days of receiving a vaccine.

  25. J Bush
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Latest news reports 6 Debenhams stores will close permanently with the possible loss of 320 jobs.

    How does the governments draconian principle of ‘if it saves one life’ stack up to 320 people losing their livelihoods and the possible suicides emanating from this because of a sense of failure to find an alternative employment, in an ever reducing job market, which is also the direct result of the same government policy?

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, I see that you have commented on the Northern Ireland fiasco:

    and Kate Hoey has an article in the Telegraph:

    “The Tories have betrayed Northern Ireland with their Brexit deal”

    but I also concerned that fishermen have also been left in the lurch, and the SNP will make maximum use of that in their campaign to break up the UK.

    At PMQ’s Boris Johnson gave no satisfactory answers to questions on either matter.

    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Boris is on his way out. He cannot give us a soft Brexit (supertrawlers; annexation of N. Ireland; etc) and get away with it. It may very well take some time, but with his attempts to decimate our economy with the pretense it’s covid19, it will come. And the Tory party will, inevitably, be behind the curve.

  27. London Nick
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    The other day I sent you a message which has not appeared, and I assume it was therefore overlooked. As I believe it was important here it is again:

    Your (throwaway?) comment about air flow is spot on. The government has, literally, spent hundreds of billions (not millions, but billions!) of pounds in their chaotic response to Covid19, but NONE of their actions will do anything to prevent the next similar crisis caused by the next infection – which scientists say is inevitable. So next time round we will be back to square one, doing all this madness yet again. This is so stupid it verges on the criminally irresponsible.

    What the government SHOULD be doing is making UV air sterilisers mandatory in ALL public buildings (shops, pubs, restaurants, offices, cinemas, museums, etc) and public transport (buses, trains, planes, etc). There are a number of UK manufacturers (eg. Medixair and Ilinex) and in order to promote British industry the government should make the use of British-built air sterilisers the legal requirement. Once UV air sterilisers are installed we can open up all public venues and throw away our muzzles!

    An obligation to install air sterilisers could be introduced in the building regulations for all new-build, while existing buildings should be offered government grants to install these. Yes, it would cost the government several billion pounds, but (i) the money would all go to help British manufacturing industry and businesses, and (ii) it will prevent not just future pandemics like Covid19, but also reduce normal, seasonal infections, and (iii) it will cost less than destroying our economy with unnecessary lockdowns!

    What say you? Will you press the government to introduce this policy?

    All the best, Nick

    PS. Did you look into my proposal the other day to use the Synairgen Interferon treatment on all patients? Covid19 works by blocking the body’s natural interferon response, so boosting it with Synairgen’s new inhaler is the best solution. This must be RUSHED into general use.

    Reply You sent me a very long submission at a busy time. Yes, I raised UV cleaning and better air extracting in Parliament a little while ago and in my more recent speech.See this site for details.

  28. a-tracy
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t you concerned John about the lack of accurate information from the Test and Trace operation, how much are we spending on this operation now? What is the point of them if they can’t accurately pinpoint from the people rocking up in hospital just where the spread is occurring and how? Wouldn’t we be better spending the money on the medical treatments.

    Your government can’t continue to blanket blame all the population a vast majority of us have been following your government’s rules and we want to know what evidence your government has been given that this is spreading from takeaways or people meeting up – have the people that have turned up in the hospital all been breaking rules and infecting their whole extended families? We are told many patients catch it in hospital or care home having tested negative on arrival? How? Are the cooks tested, the cleaners, are windows opened to circulate the air as you recommend to us?

    Really good article on Conservative Woman about the covid regime ‘it is like an abusive partner’. One poster refers you to ‘Duluth model of power and control’.

    One commenter on CW gave a list of stats of how covid is spreading without source and exclaimed: “Laura, should stop writing mad, dangerous and immensely foolish articles like this that can only make the situation worse!”

    That is what happens if you question anything.

    ‘LoveMeIAmALiberal’ gives a good retort with source about where the infections are spreading from.

  29. Martyn G
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Sir J, I am rather confused as to whether or not the ONS Covid data actually matches the dire daily reports of mounting death figures. Using the ONS tool I looked at the weather rate in 3 Oxfordshire hospitals and can hardly believe what I saw.
    The John Radcliffe – 9 but none since May.
    The Churchill – Zero
    The Horton (Banbury) 4 but none since April.
    What on earth is going on, those figures -the official data – simply do not reflect what we are being told daily about the massive threat of death arising from Covid. Whom should we believe?

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about the typo – for ‘weather rate’ read ‘death rate’!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps they have missed out the 82,678 deaths in pretend hospitals that deal with the Covid patients exclusively.

      • Martyn G
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Not sure where your data comes from – nor what is meant by a pretend hospital but if accurate it means the ONS is simply not fit for purpose and seemingly incapable of keeping important national data anywhere near up to date.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Well lucky you. I’ve just heard from a reliable source that ICU’s in Bognor, Worthing and Brighton hospitals are full with many staff off sick with Covid. These areas had very low infection rates at Christmas.

  30. LondonNick
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    There is a report in today’s Telegraph that a British pharmaceutical company – IosBio – has developed a vaccine that is administered as a TABLET. This is a complete game-changer. It means that everyone can just go to their local pharmacy, get a tablet and vaccinate themselves. Or tablets could be posted to everyone. Either way, the whole country could be vaccinated in days.

    Unfortunately, IosBio has licensed this to an American company (ImmunityBio), and they have the rights to sell the product. One must ask why the government was so stupid or just plain ignorant not to get involved at an earlier stage in order to keep this 100% in the UK. Nevertheless, we can still get in quick and buy up the initial production run, and this should be done NOW, before anyone else does.

    ImmunityBio say they have applied for regulatory approval to run trials in the UK, and this must be given IMMEDIATELY. What on earth is the government waiting for?

    • Longinus
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Clinical trial data proving efficacy, safety and quality plus regulatory approval?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      What on earth is the government waiting for?

      They have no shares in IosBio. Sorry, I seem to have become very cynical since this government became such a blatant exponent of cronyism.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      It is not hard to inject yourself or your partner. Not much harder than swallowing a tablet. My 80 year old mum had no difficulty injecting my 80 year old dad with insulin for several years without any ill effects after perhaps 5 mins of instruction.

  31. Tabulazero
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    No opinion on the impeachment attempt of Donald Trump ?

    Do you approve of it ? Do you disapprove of it ?

    • NickC
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Tabulazero, The condemnation of Trump for the mainly peaceful protest on 6th January (where a very few ran riot and wandered into the Capitol), is an example of ‘attack being the best form of defence’. Many Democrats excused, or even endorsed, the BLM and Antifa riots that took place for about 5 months, night after night, last summer. Their hypocrisy is stunning. But, like Remains, they have no shame.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2021 at 3:42 am | Permalink

      I do not approve of it. It will rightly backfire on the democrats anyway and it is politically dangerous as Nigel Farage suggests.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 14, 2021 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        You mean that criminals might be more likely to commit their crimes as a result?

        Well let’s see who they are, and hope that they are crushed as they should be then?

  32. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Good content in speech…

    I’m still very concerned that no alternative to lock-down is even being discussed.
    With supermarkets now making people queue outside in the cold weather that will surely make a lot more people ill.

    With 91% of death certificates now showing at least one other contributing factor, shouldn’t the experts be doing more to understand and react to those healthy people that may get the virus with very few symptoms?

    If you’ve had the virus shouldn’t these people be free to roam as required, and shouldn’t they also get a health passport?

    More importantly, shouldn’t we be getting blood tests to confirm if we have had the virus or not – That would be 100% certain, rather than the current swabs which the experts claim are that 95% effective, but which in practice are more like 50-50.

    The government claims blood tests are too expensive, but with all the money being wasted otherwise it is a very poor example of good economics.

  33. agricola
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Be very wary of Asian statistics and their veracity. Certifications could be bought in my days around Asia. You could get a driving licence for 200 rupees sat on the back seat of a parked car. The only thing that counts are our own figures and the impact that our well organised vaccination system has on hospital and ICU numbers and the swift return to an increasingly vibrant economy.

  34. Peter from Leeds
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I totally agree with you. About the only thing I can add is that we must have masses of data by now. We should be able to compare the overall outcomes for different NHS trusts and therefore try to work out which are doing best and why. We know from other health issues that the NHS does not always provide a uniform service.

    Excellent – and we’ll done for keeping the pressure on BREXIT issues (eg fishing and NI).


    PS Grim mortality figures today – but excellent vaccination daily rate.

    • Peter from Leeds
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Sorry well not we’ll.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Overall excess deaths are well within in the normal range. Many deaths are being put down as Covid when it is not the main cause or even a cause at all. Either that or by some miracle many other causes of death have somehow magically reduced. This seems most unlikely as much of the NHS in other areas has shut down.

      • Stred
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        It’s a cover up.

  35. Mike Wilson
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood – do you ever feel like giving up? I agree with much of what you say – and you have made your points to government many, many times. I admire your persistence. I think I would have retired and taken your no doubt exceptionally good pension long ago. Do the memoirs beckon? It would be wonderful if, after retirement, you were able to really say what you think – both of policies and personnel.

    Reply I am fully engaged with the campaigns I set out here – the main task now is to secure a good Brexit by helping the UK learn to love and use the new freedoms it has gained thanks to the voters.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Keep up your good works, as one of the few sound and honest MPs alas 10% of them at best.

      For a mere history graduate you do very well indeed please continue.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely agree.

      • rose
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        He is not a mere history graduate. John Bercow described him as a polymath. One of the more agreeable things Bercow said.

    • steve
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Mike Wilson

      “….do you [JR] ever feel like giving up? ”

      Anyone could be forgiven for that, Mike. Life is so crap nowadays it begs the question: what’s the point ? Much better to lead as simple life as possible & look after oneself.

      I think Sir Redwood has given so much of his life to others I doubt there is anyone who would criticise him. Personally I don’t know how he does what he does, I know if I tried it I’d be burned out in five minutes.

  36. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    On vaccinations there are reports of wasted vaccine. Clearly there should be a list of standby people perhaps below the age of the priority groups who are happy to turn up at very short notice to get a shot so as to prevent such waste. Bald older men above say 60, with blood group A & riskier jobs might be sensible as they are high risk and perhaps spreading.

    • steve
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:13 pm | Permalink


      “Bald older men above say 60, with blood group A & riskier jobs might be sensible as they are high risk and perhaps spreading.”


      Pure unadulterated misandry.

  37. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    This post is well timed. Daily new cases have just begun to fall but deaths are still rising. Because of the time lag, we do not expect daily deaths to peak, given current treatment methods, to peak until end of January / beginning of February.

    It’s now all about reducing the deaths to cases ratio, through new treatments and vaccination. There are three factors in rolling out vaccines – production, distribution and staffing. We need to maximise staffing by redeploying bureaucrats as temporary auxiliary nurses.

  38. Adams
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Why no mention of the fact that the PCR test was never suitable for a test on Covid and produces thousands of false positives John . The incorrect results then go to egg your lunatic leader into more lockdown totalitarianism for which you MPs are proving to be useless rubber stamps . HELP !

  39. Barbara
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Public Health England said today (and I quote) ‘We don’t yet know if the vaccine prevents transmission’, so I can’t really see the point of it.

  40. rick hamilton
    Posted January 14, 2021 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Here in Tokyo there is a state of emergency as infections have been rising, but this is more to do with giving government more powers than locking everything down. Stores and restaurants are open but eating places have to close by 8:00pm. Travel outside the city is not recommended. There are no petty rules about who or how many can mingle in one house and nobody is arrested for carelessness.

    Japanese are hygiene fanatics anyway and mask wearing, temperature taking, hand sanitising and plastic screens are everywhere. Japan is also following its 400 year policy of keeping unwelcome foreigners out, by simply banning arrivals from almost all countries, at present for a month. In addition to all that the health system is excellent (there is competition, the essential driver of efficiency) and the level of care and attention to detail are outstanding. Total deaths are about 4,000 in a country with twice the population of UK.

    Why are East Asian nations so good at controlling the pandemic ? I would say :
    Japan, Taiwan (and effectively S.Korea) are islands with very effective border controls – UK please note.
    The citizenry are naturally conformist and have respect for mostly scientifically-minded governments. No British bloody-mindedness.
    There might be some retained immunity from previous bouts of SARS but this not proven.

    Having said all that, Japan will not have vaccines ready until at least the end of February so in that sense the UK doing a lot better – and frankly, needs to.

  41. Rhoddas
    Posted January 14, 2021 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Somethings are not joined up. Great and proudly we aim to fire on all 6 with jabbers jabbing, but still allow Brazilian flights with a variant that has the potential to reinfect folk who have already had it.

    9 months to decide to enact PCR test on UK arrivals. No testing done here on arrivals nor after 7 days quarantine. Greece dies do this for example as do many countries.

    Repeating the siege of Kaffa by releasing untested recovering elderly patients back to care homes.

    Frankly, not good and so easily fixed.

  42. Helen Smith
    Posted January 14, 2021 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you for bringing up ivermectin, don’t suppose you got a satisfactory answer. I was delighted to hear a trial of inhaled interferon Beta has started, but equally appalled that it has taken 6 months, 6 MONTHS, to get going. I’m now told that it has been funded via shareholders of a private company, why, for the love of God, why!

    Where is the sense of urgency in the NHS?

    Why have we seemingly put all our eggs in the vaccine basket?

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 15, 2021 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      The government can speed up a vaccine but not a cure. As you say why? I’m sure there will be volunteers to trial this treatment, it’s got to be better than nothing but you’re going to all die if you don’t stay in.

  43. Dylan Lovelock
    Posted January 15, 2021 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, with respect, you and your colleagues are simply not asking enough probing questions of Government. Here is my suggestion 1. What is lockdown exit plan? 2. Government must commit, in law, with a planned date, to returning ALL our rights, liberties and freedoms exactly as they were pre-pandemic, when will this commitment be made? 3 Why won’t Gov consider alternative scientific advice from other preminent scientists? 4. Why is open debate on the efficacy of Lockdown stifled or even censored?

    Please can MP’s do their job instead of simply being complicit with every Gov dictat. If this continues Tories will lose favour at the next election, this is for sure.

    The British people will soon grow tired of lockdowns and take freedom back themselves, and it could get very dark and ugly if that happens.

    Thank you

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  • 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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