Aylesbury MP backs government measures to combat Omicron variant including Covid passports

He believes the government has come up with a 'proportionate response' to the rise in Covid cases across the UK

By James Lowson
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 10:12 am

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler has backed the new measures the government will implement to combat the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.

Covid cases have risen across the UK and Aylesbury, since the new mutation of the virus was discovered on these shores in recent weeks.

Yesterday evening (December 14), Parliament voted through 'plan b' measures to limit the spread of Covid.

Rob Butler

Plan b measures include: compulsory vaccinations for care staff, face coverings becoming mandatory on: public transport, shops, but not hospitality venues.

Most notably, vaccine passports will now be mandatory to attend large events and enter nightclubs.

People who can work from home are now once again being encouraged to do so under the new government instructions.

Mr Butler said: “I voted in support of the government’s new measures because I believe that, on balance, they represent a proportionate response to the alarming and very rapid rise in cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

"They help to buy time for far more people to get a booster jab which will protect us from severe illness, keep beds available in our local hospitals, and get us back on the path to normal life."

The vaccine certificate measure passed by 369 votes to 126, with Mr Butler being among the majority who backed the measure.

Fellow Conservative Aylesbury Vale MP, Greg Smith who represents Buckingham voted against the measure.

Mr Butler explained why he backed the measure despite apprehension among some of his constituents. He said: "I have listened to many people, and asked ministers tough questions, in coming to my decision on how to vote.

"I entirely understand why some constituents are uncomfortable about having to show a pass to go to the places they want to visit. But I believe the option of either showing a negative lateral flow test result or proof of vaccination status is a reasonable compromise.

"We must not forget that many other countries have far harsher restrictions. I want local venues to stay open, to protect jobs in a part of the economy that has been battered: if showing a pass is a way to achieve that, I believe it is an acceptable price to pay. It's also what I've heard from local businesses.

"I know that doubts have been raised about the strength of the evidence we have at the moment. But when the chief medical officer warns of cases rising at a phenomenal rate, and the prospect of a much higher peak than ever before in hospitals that are already close to capacity, I feel I have to listen – and vote accordingly.

"We can all play our own part to overcome Omicron, and ensure these restrictions remain for as short a time as possible, by encouraging our family and friends to get boosted now.”

The Aylesbury MP also released a blog on his website yesterday in a question and answer format for his constituents which can be accessed here.

It is designed as an explainer showing what the new rules of are, it also describes why the government feels extra measures were necessary.