Getting Orpington back into Tier 1
After the four week national lockdown in England, the three-tiered local lockdown system will return. When it does, I will continue to push for Orpington to only be subjected to new measures because of local circumstances, not because of other parts of London.
In October, I questioned the scientific evidence behind treating London as one city for local lockdowns. Orpington is more akin to Kent than the rest of the capital. And London is not moving as it once did, commuter trains are quiet, many are not heading into the city. So the virus is not spreading as it did back in March.
ITV News visited the village of Downe to report on my efforts to counter Sadiq Khan's campaign for a London-wide lockdown. At the time, Orpington's rate of infection did not justify the new measures. We had the third-lowest infection rate in Greater London, well below the threshold for Tier 2.
Like the rest of the country though, we have seen a rapid rise in coronavirus locally. Orpington may be starting from a lower point than many other places, but we are on the same path. In two weeks, we jumped from 76 cases per 100,000 people to 126 cases per 100,000 people. This is in part why I supported a national lockdown this week.
By following the rules during the next four weeks, we can drive down the virus and, I hope, emerge in Tier 1 restrictions. This would allow Orpington to reopen in a meaningful way with friends and family reunited once again, and it would also help our local businesses.
I will continue to make the case for a borough by borough approach once the national lockdown ends. This is even more important, as after four weeks of lockdown, it would be a grave injustice to subject Orpington to continued stringent restrictions it did not need because of elsewhere in London.