Lockdown warning: Tory MP Baker ‘gravely concerned’ at coronavirus economic damage

Mr Baker, MP for Wycombe, has been a consistent critic of the draconian measures imposed on March 23 in a bid to slow down the spread of the illness. He raised the matter in the House of Commons on Monday, and was cited in a press release issued by the lawyers of millionaire businessman Simon Dolan, who is seeking to challenge the lockdown through the courts.

Mr Baker did not specifically mention Mr Dolan’s legal bid – but told Express.co.uk: “Three things must happen now.

“First, the legal basis for the lockdown must be tested in court – it must be established on a legal basis.”

In reference to complaints about heavy handed enforcement of rules relating to social distancing and staying at home, he said: “Secondly, with respect to the issuing of further guidance, the Government should be clear about what people should do, as opposed to what they must do, which should save us some of the absurd circumstances which have arisen.

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“Thirdly, the Prime Minister must lift the lockdown to the maximum extent consistent with public health.”

Mr Baker stressed he was pleased with the approach to policing with his own constituency.

However, he admitted: “On the economy, I am gravely concerned.”

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He was already witnessing the fallout in terms of self-employed people, those working in the hospitality sector, creative professionals, not to mention the mental health impact, he said.

The potential damage to the airline industry was also a specific worry, given Heathrow Airport is an important employer for many people in Wycombe, located barely ten miles away.

He added: “Every day the economic and clinical reasons for relaxing the lockdown become more evident.”

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Mr Baker’s comments to some extent echo those of Mr Dolan yesterday.

Last week Mr Dolan’s lawyers sent a Letter Before Action to the Government, setting a deadline of May 7 for them to respond.

In it, they urged the Government to allow gatherings of up to 100 people, the reopening of schools, and to commit to a review the lockdown restrictions every fortnight.

Government lawyers yesterday responded with a letter in which they requested a further week to issue their response.

Mr Dolan said: “It is yet another example of the Government sitting on its hands while Britain is sent hurtling on a journey to economic and social ruin.”

In a reference to the Roman emperor who famously fiddled as Rome burned, Mr Dolan added: “Boris Johnson wants to be seen as Churchillian – he is behaving more like Nero, dragging his heels over the burning embers of the economy and freedom.

“We have a delay in addressing the Letter Before Action and delay in addressing nation desperate to hear a plan on how we will climb out of the mess of lockdown.

“The logic of delaying any announcement is baffling, unnecessary and damaging.

“Other countries are emerging from lockdown and Britain we will be left behind – ruing the rising cost with every passing hour.”

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