On Wednesday 16th December Sussex will placed in its next tier arrangement regarding COVID-19. In the few days before the last tier arrangement on 2nd December, several Sussex MPs were claiming that our area was in a much better place than the Government seemed to appreciate and that Tier 2 was either inappropriate as expressed and voted for by Huw Merriman and Tim Loughton and simply voted for by Henry Smith or that our position in Tier 2 was a bad decision and needed to be short term and we would be entering Tier 1 very soon. This came from Sally-Ann Hart and Peter Bottomley and one could imagine was endorsed by Caroline Ansell and Nusrat Ghani given her previous statement a week earlier. That said while Caroline Ansell voted for Tier 2, Nusrat did not vote at all and indeed the three Brighton and Hove MPs didn’t vote either, primarily because they were uncomfortable with the terms of the voting, not because they were opposing the Tier 2 arrangement. So we are now about to be reviewed by the Government which is potentially focusing on Brexit right now, but hopefully is going to set out some suggestions for local Tier arrangements. It has become very clear in the last week that even though MPs like Peter Bottomley and Tim Loughton in West Sussex and Sally-Ann Hart and Huw Merriman in East Sussex were opposed to the Tier 2 setting, that their two upper level Councils are disclosing that things are not as well as they were claiming a few days ago. The image above came from East Sussex County Council and an email from West Sussex on Friday 11th stated
Cases in West Sussex have risen slightly in the past week. There were 539 new confirmed cases in West Sussex in the seven days up to Saturday 05 December. This is 62.4 per 100,000 population (all ages). Our covid-19 data dashboard is available on our website, showing information about the number of cases in local districts and boroughs as well as at county level. West Sussex is currently in Tier 2 ‘High Alert’ and this is being reviewed by Government next week.
So my call is that MPs in East and West Sussex as well as the three in Brighton and Hove must start communicating with their Upper Level Councils along with agencies such as the NHS and the Police and indeed the Voluntary Sector. We need MPs to start making coherent comments (and voting in a coherent manner). There are of course a number of MPs who are members of the Government and so their comments and votes will always be a reflection of the Government which is disappointing, but we do have 11 MPs who are not Government members and if they along with the Councils and the other public sector organisations can start sending clear and consistent messages out, we may be able to improve our situation in the near future.