Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) (No. 6) Regulations 2021 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:15 pm on 15th December 2021.

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Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General 12:15 pm, 15th December 2021

My Lords, it is only about eight miles from Buckley to Gresford, but I must say that the distance between me and the noble Baroness, Lady Fox, is infinite given the views that she takes.

I want to put a personal note into this debate. Within the last two years, I have undergone a course of chemotherapy, which destroyed my immunity to disease, according to the experts. I was told a fortnight ago that I should have another booster in addition to the booster that I have already had—in other words, four jabs altogether for me. But I come here. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, will approve of my coming here in answer to the Writ of Summons to contribute, to try to play a part and go on as though nothing has happened. But I come here because I rely on the common sense and collegiate responsibility of my colleagues in this place, of the doorkeepers and of the staff, and of all the people here who are doing their best to protect us.

I can tell your Lordships that it is a matter of concern to me when I see, on the opposite Benches, people who are proud not to wear something but of not wearing a mask. That makes me feel unsafe. I am sure that I am not the only person here with a compromised immunity—there must be others—who come here to try to carry on, but this is only one workplace. There are workplaces throughout this country where people are trying to carry on. They need leadership; they need confidence that the advice they receive from this House, from the other place and from the Government is soundly based on the best medical science that can be brought to bear. That science tells us that we should protect ourselves and wear masks, not just for ourselves but for the people whom we move among when we travel here—referred to by my noble friend Lord Scriven —or are going about this place.

We are protecting not just ourselves by wearing a mask but everybody else, and I do not understand a philosophy which permits people to say, “I am above all this.” “Freedom!” is the great cry. That is rubbish. I shall oppose the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, if he puts his amendment to a vote, but I plead with him to think of people like me with a compromised immunity who are trying to carry on, and to withdraw that amendment.