Hull Labour MPs back 'circuit breaker' lockdown rather than current 'local' approach

Aerial shot of Hull

Two of Hull's Labour MPs have said they support a 'circuit-breaker' lockdown to curb rising numbers of coronavirus cases while East Riding Council's leader said he backed the current system.

Hull West and Hessle's Emma Hardy and Hull East's Karl Turner both said a short but stricter national lockdown would help to bring coronavirus under control.

Ms Hardy said current trends of rising case numbers showed the government had "lost control" of the pandemic, adding its current regional strategy did not go far enough.

Mr Turner said the country had reached a "decisive" moment in the pandemic and that tougher restrictions would be needed regardless if cases continue to rise.

But Richard Burton, the Conservative leader of East Riding Council, said the government's current approach of tightening restrictions in the worst affected areas was better than a blanket national lockdown.

Cllr Burton added the current approach, which sees local authority areas placed in one of three tiers depending on their case numbers and infection rates, was the "right" one.


The comments follow calls from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to replace the tier system with a national lockdown.

It also comes as government documents showed its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) pushed for such a lockdown weeks before Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the tiered system.

  • What is a 'circuit breaker' lockdown?

A 'circuit breaker' lockdown would see stricter rules introduced in England for two to three weeks, covering school half term holidays to minimise disruption.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and other venues would close while the government adopts a 'stay at home' message similar to the one deployed during the first national lockdown in late March.

Ms Hardy said a circuit breaker lockdown would protect the NHS, help with testing and get coronavirus under control.

Emma Hardy MP Credit: PA Images

The Hull West and Hessle MP said:

It is now clear that the government have lost control of the virus and that their regional lock down strategy does not go far enough in getting the rising cases under control. Therefore, I support SAGE's advice for a 'circuit breaker', a short period of national restrictions that SAGE have stated will bring the R-rate down and reduce further transmissions.

Emma Hardy, Hull West and Hessle MP

She added:

"These restrictions should only be implemented with the necessary financial support in place for businesses, jobs and local economies.

"We cannot ask businesses to close again without giving them the financial support because every single local business and job matters and should be protected.

"Now it is necessary to follow the latest scientific guidance from SAGE and introduce a circuit break lock down to protect our NHS, fix testing and get control of the virus."


Mr Turner said a circuit breaker lockdown was needed as case numbers were moving in the "wrong direction".

Karl Turner MP Credit: PA Images

We are in a decisive moment in our efforts to tackle coronavirus and the numbers are moving in the wrong direction. But the government is no longer following scientific advice. The measures it has set out in recent weeks are harming the economy and failing to suppress the virus.

Karl Turner, Hull East MP

He added:

"Labour is calling for a two to three week circuit break that will give us a chance to fix testing, protect the NHS and get control of the virus.

"The prime minister knows his latest restrictions won't be enough, he knowns he will have to impose harsher restrictions.

"We can't wait for Boris Johnson to catch up, he must act now."


Cllr Burton said following government advice on infection rates, consulting with them and acting accordingly was his preferred approach.

Cllr Burton said: "I wouldn't support a nationwide lockdown, I don't think its right.

"It would be a one size fits all approach, the current system of tightening measures on a council by council basis is the right one.

"We're continuing to follow the government's approach to deal with this in the right way.

"It allows us to take a localised approach, and I expect that if the East Riding got to the point where government were looking at the situation here we'd have conversations around that.

"We're monitoring the situation closely and our local public health teams are working to deal with outbreaks here as they are detected.

"We will back the current system unless scientific evidence clearly shows a different approach is needed, until then a localised system is the right one."