Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:37 pm on 14th December 2020.

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Photo of Adam Holloway Adam Holloway Conservative, Gravesham 6:37 pm, 14th December 2020

I wish I had spoken to my hon. Friend last night when I was looking for precisely that research. There is absolutely no reason why councils and the police cannot be given draconian powers to shut down establishments that are operating unsafely.

My second point is that we are looking forward to the Christmas relaxation of the rules, which I know will be hugely welcomed by hundreds of thousands of families across the country who have had it very hard over the past few months. At present, the virus appears to be circulating among school-aged children and their parents. Thank heavens that is usually without serious effect, although we have had many tragedies.

Over the Christmas period, people have been told that they can mix and that generations can mix. I strongly suggest to my constituents that while we may be allowed to do so, some might choose not to. It strikes me that there is a great risk of parents and children passing on the virus to grandparents, leaving the country in a very poor position as we enter the coldest months of the year, when transmission rates will inevitably be highest.

After the extraordinary foresight of the Government in securing the vaccines and with the likelihood soon of many, many millions of doses of the Oxford vaccine coming online, I suggest that while families are allowed to do something, it might just be better to wait another four or five months. I know a lot of people are talking about Australia at the moment for some reason. My constituent, Mr Hamilton, suggests that some families should consider, like Australia, celebrating together towards the beginning of the summer, once the vaccines are rolled out and we are out of the worst of the winter. We may be allowed to do things, but people should listen to the Prime Minister and be very careful.