A number of constituents have been in touch about Tuesday evening’s vote on the 10.00pm hospitality curfew, so I thought I would share my thoughts here.
This was a difficult decision for me and my Labour colleagues. In communities up and down the country, businesses are having an incredibly tough time. The hospitality industry in particular has been hit hard by COVID-19 and many pubs, bars and restaurants are really struggling.
However, with cases on the rise once again, we have to make some difficult decisions. Ideally, we would have supported a move to the Welsh rules, which state that drinking up time is at 10.00pm, rather than closing time. This means that venues are not forcing all of their customers out onto the street at the same time.
Unfortunately, though, this was not an option. The piece of legislation used to bring in the curfew was what is known as a ‘statutory instrument’ – a type of secondary legislation provided for by an act of Parliament – and it cannot be amended by MPs.
Ultimately we do agree that there should be limits on the amount of time people can currently spend in the pub, which is why I abstained on the vote.
As you will no doubt be aware, we have now called on the Government to implement a short ‘circuit break’ lockdown following reports that Ministers have ignored SAGE expert advice to implement nationwide measures to minimise the spread of the virus.
We will continue to do all we can to stop the Government from leading the country head-first into a very bleak winter crisis.