A Conservative MP has said if people “hadn’t broken the rules” the new strict coronavirus restrictions would not need to be imposed.
Alexander Stafford, the MP for Rother Valley in South Yorkshire said the tier 3 measures imposed on the county would be “absolutely devastating” for local businesses but were needed to save lives.
“Let’s be honest, if people had obeyed the stricter rules, and hadn’t broken the rules, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” he told the BBC’s Politics North programme on Sunday.
“We’ve got to take this seriously, people are still dying,” he said. “I am disappointed we are in tier 3. I am disappointed we have the coronavirus.”
Stafford added “no one is blaming anyone” but “if you ignore the rules you’re endangering lives”.
Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, accused Stafford of unfairly blaming the public.
“Instead of accepting the government has failed time and time again, let’s blame the people,” she said. “I’ll give you an example of the best rule breaker, it was Dominic Cummings.”
I can not believe a Tory MP decided to blame the public for #Lockdowns. It is his government that has failed to control the virus NOT THE PUBLIC! #COVID19 #PoliticsNorth #ToryIncompetence pic.twitter.com/OO2vHOFSQv
— Naz Shah MP (@NazShahBfd) November 29, 2020
Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP for Nottingham South added: “With a few exceptions my constituents have stuck to the rules and case numbers have been falling for weeks.
“The government failed to act in Sage advice, failed on track and trace and still haven’t delivered the rapid testing they announced weeks ago.”
MPs will vote on Tuesday whether to approve the new three-tier system of coronavirus rules.
If the government wins, the new rules replacing England’s national lockdown will come into force from Wednesday December 2.
Under the system, the country will be split into tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3.
In total, almost 99% of England’s population will enter tier 2 or 3, with tight restrictions on bars and restaurants and a ban on households mixing indoors.
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly will be under the lightest tier 1 controls, while large swathes of the midlands, north east and north west are in the most restrictive tier 3.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.