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Grantham MP Gareth Davies votes for tier 3 after assurances from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock

Grantham's MP supported the Government's proposal for the new tier system despite resistance from constituents, after making it clear his vote was dependent on localised tiers going forward.

Ahead of the vote, Gareth Davies, along with fellow Conservative Sir John Hayes (South Holland and the Deepings) and council leaders, put his name to a letter urging the Prime Minister to reconsider the tier arrangement for Lincolnshire.

They called for districts to be placed into tiers rather than the county as a whole, as South Kesteven and South Holland in particular have lower rates of infection.

Sir John Hayes MP and Gareth Davies MP (front) with Sir Edward Leigh MP and health secretary Matt Hancock MP
Sir John Hayes MP and Gareth Davies MP (front) with Sir Edward Leigh MP and health secretary Matt Hancock MP

When crunch time arrived at Westminster yesterday (Tuesday), both voted in support of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's county-based tiers.

Mr Davies said he raised the specific issue of South Lincolnshire with the Prime Minister directly, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Before the vote in Parliament yesterday, Mr Davies and Sir John secured written assurance (published in full below) from the health secretary, that the Government will take into account that areas of South Lincolnshire have had infection rates below the national average.

However, there has been no promise from the Prime Minister and Health Secretary that Lincolnshire be split at the next review on December 16.

Mr Johnson has said the next review will take into account local coronavirus rates for parts of the county.

Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Caroline Johnson also voted in favour of the tier system.

Residents were shocked and disappointed to find out they had been put into the highest level of restrictions.

Those in hospitality trade also expressed fears of what the tier 3 restrictions will do to their business.

Lincolnshire was put in tier 3 because of high infection rates in East Lindsey and Boston.

To Sir John Hayes MP

CC: Gareth Davies MP

Dear Sir John,

Thank you for meeting with me yesterday with Sir Edward Leigh MP and Gareth Davies MP to discuss the decision to place Lincolnshire in Local Covid Alert Level Very High (Tier 3).

I understand the force of your arguments on the particulars of South Holland and South Kesteven and I know you made them in the best interests of your constituents, as you always have done.

As I made clear in our meeting, we will formally review the data and tier allocations for all area across England on 16 December and every two weeks thereafter, and I can assure you that we will again assess each area individually, including areas within Lincolnshire such as South Lincolnshire, on its own merits based on the five criteria we set out in the Winter Plan, based on public health advice including from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and the Chief Medical Officer, and taking into account the very challenging impact of Tier 3 measures.

It is important to note that we know from lived experience over recent months that where narrow carve-outs take place in the face of higher rates in neighbouring areas, time and again these carved-out areas simply catch up, and often overtake their neighbouring areas.

I know your constituents and people right across Lincolnshire are working hard to help get this virus under control.

I very much hope that South Lincolnshire’s case rates continue to improve, and such progress will of course be factored into these decisions in each of the formal reviews.

Yours ever,

Matt Hancock

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