A Conservative MP has said it’s time the rich and powerful stop sneering at COVID rule breakers.
Sir Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne, issued the plea while he was speaking in the Commons ahead of a vote over a third national lockdown.
He said he could not support the legislation because he did not want to criminalise “a parent for seeing a child in the park over the coming months”.
Sir Charles said it was “easy” for him and “most people in this House to comply with the law”, explaining: “We’re comfortably off, we live in nice houses, we have gardens, we have outdoor spaces, we have access to family.
“The same applies to those journalists who fill our TV screens every night with their wisdom and wit about how people should comply with these regulations, and how they sneer at those who can’t.”
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He added: “The next three months are going to be really, really hard for a lot of people who don’t have my advantages of a monthly salary, a monthly pension payment, these are people who are going to be worrying about their jobs, about their future, about their mental health, about their family relationships because they will miss people terribly or they will be in very small environments where apparently they can only leave to exercise once a day.
“Sadly, some of these people are going to break and it’s going to be too much for them…”
SNP MP Margaret Ferrier was charged on Monday for allegedly breaking COVID-19 rules when she made a return train journey from Scotland to London last year after testing positive for the virus.
Ferrier learned that her test was positive at the end of September after she had spoken in parliament at Westminster.
She has apologised for then taking the train more than 400 miles back to Scotland.
The prime minister’s former chief advisor Dominic Cummings refused to resign last May in response to an uproar when he drove 250 miles from London to Durham to access childcare when people were being told to stay at home to fight COVID-19.
He said he had done nothing wrong and Boris Johnson stood by his aide, though many MPs wanted him sacked.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley was also taken off air for six months after she broke COVID-19 guidelines when she celebrated her 60th birthday with friends and colleagues in London last month.
The channel’s political editor Beth Rigby and correspondent Inzamam Rashid, who both attended the event, also agreed to be off air for three months.
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