MP says people in Sunderland are breaking the law and visiting family despite local lockdown

One of Sunderland’s MPs has told Parliament she ‘understands’ why people are breaking the rules in the city.

By Newsroom
Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 5:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 5:50 pm

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Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliot said her constituents in the North East are breaking the law to visit family members in other houses.

She told MPs: “The reality is that people in the area I represent in the North East in Sunderland are seeing their family members, they’re breaking the rules, they’re going into houses.

“Everyone knows that the virus spreads when people are in small rooms together.

“These regulations and the regulations in Sunderland which I represent are actually making the virus spread worse, not improving them – because the Government has not listened to local people and the requests of leaders, cross-party leaders, of what the needs of the North East were.

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“And the Government’s regulations only work if they take people with them and they’re not taking people with them.

“The police aren’t an army, they can’t possibly stop what is going on. And I have huge sympathy for people going in to see their relatives for all sorts of reasons – I don’t condone them breaking the law but I understand it.”

This comes as the Government is facing increasing pressure over local lockdowns with politicians claiming they are not effective.

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Read more: New North East lockdown rules explained

Sunderland, along with the six other council areas in the North East; Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Northumberland, were put under additional restrictions on September 18, which were tightened further last week when it was made against the law to meet with someone outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting.

The council leaders of Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds have written to the Health Secretary and said that local lockdowns are “not working, are confusing and ”counter-productive".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls for a two week circuit breaker lockdown.

Professor John Edmunds, who advises the Government’s coronavirus response as part of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said: “These local restrictions that have been put in place in much of the north of England really haven’t been very effective. We need to take much more stringent measures, not just in the north of England, we need to do it countrywide, and bring the epidemic back under control.”

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