‘Where is the evidence?’ York’s Conservative MP questions reasons for York Tier 2 restrictions

Julian Sturdy in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament / Jessica Taylor
16 Oct 2020 @ 7.25 am
| News

York’s Conservative MP wants to see more evidence for why the city is being moved into Tier 2 of the coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Sturdy, the Conservative member for York Outer, says he shares his government’s concern about the rising cases of Covid-19, but believes the trend is being driven by the city’s two universities.

He has now called for clarity over the criteria for the Tier 2 move, which comes into force in York on Saturday.

Mr Sturdy said it was important that all York residents and business follow the new rules.

But he added: “I was however disappointed not to get a satisfactory explanation of the Government’s reasoning and would like to have seen the detailed breakdown of the data that has led to this decision.

“From the information that I have available it seems clear that the rise in cases is being driven by York’s two universities, with the Fulford and Heslington ward alone accounting for one in five positive tests.

The three-tier lockdown

“It remains unclear however what the transmission rate is in the wider community. I would need to see clear evidence that this is worsening before I could endorse tightening restrictions, with serious implications for our hospitality industry city-wide.

“This decision should not be taken simply based on the raw numbers, whist running the risk that these are heavily skewed by infection rates in the universities.”

The MP also wants clarity from ministers over how the decision will be kept under review, and the criteria for York being moved back into the lower Tier 1 Medium level.

“I have yet to receive detailed information on this point and greater clarity is needed if we are to avoid the sort of limbo that many other northern cities have been placed in over the last few months.”