BRAINTREE'S MP insists new countywide restrictions can help keep new cases of coronavirus down in his constituency.

James Cleverly admits he has sympathy with people in the Braintree district who will be concerned about the new rules.

But he insists action is needed now to prevent a worsening health and economic situation.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has today confirmed Essex will move up into the 'high' Covid alert level after approving a request from County Hall.

Essex County Council says moving the region up a level will help address the increase in coronavirus cases seen in the past few weeks.


The move means residents will be banned from mixing with other households in an inside environment.

Speaking earlier today, Mr Cleverly said: "All MP’s were briefed on Essex moving into tier 2 and gave their feedback to it.

“It struck me as a well-argued point and the county council made its position clear.

“For me as an MP, it’s very difficult to be able to comment on health decisions made by experts and tell them what to do. It was a case of listening to what they had to say and understand what would happen if they didn’t take action.

“The numbers in my Braintree constituency are among the lowest in the county but it’s important not to localise an issue like this too much.

“If we were focusing on very specific areas this would become too fragmented and would arguably do more harm than good. Taking a countywide approach gives Braintree and all the other areas in Essex the best chance to keep those numbers down.

“All of it is of course a very difficult balancing act and you have to make a judgement call on both people’s health and the economy.

“I can completely understand how people will look at the numbers and wonder why they need tougher restrictions. There will be businesses worried about what happens next and what they should do with their employees, how they will keep functioning.

“But moving into tier 2 should do much less harm than moving into the highest tier. I know new measures may be disruptive but if they’re put in place early, they can help prevent even tougher restrictions coming into place.

“A worsening health situation will only lead to more restrictions which in turn will lead to a worsening economic situation. That’s something we have to avoid.

“The truth is, there is no single definitive way of doing this. The council is taking a countywide approach and doing what it thinks is best for everyone and not just a handful of people.

“It would be very easy to say Braintree has the best numbers in Essex so don’t worry about us.”