Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:28 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Ian Paisley Jnr Ian Paisley Jnr Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 5:28 pm, 12th January 2021

I make the case this evening for the increased use of lateral flow tests. Some misgivings have already been expressed that they are inaccurate. Perhaps in the early days, and with improper use, they may well have been, but any process administered inappropriately and badly gives poor results. The fact is that the technology has moved on and people are better trained in their use; indeed, in recent months we have seen that they have improved. I urge the wider use of the tests to help inspire confidence and to help us unlock the lockdown. Their use should be encouraged by the hospitality sector, airlines, factories, retail and sport. They provide an immediate, effective and quick result that deems a person good to go, or not, as the case may be. Let us roll this out to help open our country, which is unfortunately locked down.

Secondly, I want to address the problem of our country now living in a state of fear and, in many instances, ignoring fact. Covid has made our country fearful and suspicious. We have a daily diet of bad news. We have a generation now being encouraged to fret and worry. We have a duty to move our country beyond fear and to get it on to a message of hope. My catechism taught me that our chief end in life is to glorify God and to enjoy life in him forever. We are here to enjoy life, not to fear it, or to lock ourselves away from living it to its absolute fullest. Every effort to suppress fear must be made. However, the agenda of some is, unfortunately, about promoting fear and suspicion.

I wish also to call this evening for the unlocking of grassroots amateur football. Young males, in particular, are being locked away from practising positive, healthy wellbeing and interaction. Positive physical activity outside ought not to be stopped among young people who can be well supervised and managed. Tomorrow, a number of MPs will deliver to the Prime Minister a letter calling for the unlocking of youth amateur football, and I will be one of the signatories to that letter. I will leave in the Library this evening a letter from five senior clinicians in Northern Ireland, who wrote to me criticising the modelling on the R number. They show facts about the false hope on closing down personal services, hotels, hospitality and retail—actions that all have a moderate impact on driving down the R number. Keeping our country in lockdown is only suppressing, not stopping, this virus, and it is not the answer to the problem. Sir Van Morrison recently wrote and sang:

“We are not in this together.”

Some are being more harshly locked down than others. This House should fix that.