LEIGH MP James Grundy says he will vote in favour of the third England lockdown as "there is a clear path to normality" in place and "suitable support for businesses".

The Conservative Mo voted against the four-week lockdown which started in November 2020 but says he will support the government's lockdown proposal in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday).

In a statement issued today, Mr Grundy said: "Last night, the Prime Minister announced that there will be another lockdown in England, similar to that first seen last March.

"Of course, given the length of this crisis, I understand that another lockdown will be a huge challenge for many local people and businesses, however with COVID-19 cases rising, pressure on the NHS increasing, and the rise of a new, more infectious, strain of the virus, I believe that there has been no option but to take this step.

"Last year, I voted against a second national lockdown being imposed, due to the fact that I was not satisfied that there was a clear route out of lockdown. Last night however, the Prime Minister outlined a clear way out of this lockdown, primarily, through the COVID-19 vaccinations being distributed to everyone within the top 4 priority groups of the vaccination priority list. This includes residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers, all those aged 75 and over, all those 70 years of age and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable."

He added: "In addition, I was also concerned about the lack of financial support for sectors most affected by the lockdown restrictions proposed last year, such as the hospitality sector. Last night however, the Prime Minister also announced a new comprehensive package of support for all businesses that have to remain shut, such as a one-off grant for closed businesses in England up to £9,000 and £500million of discretionary funding provided to English local authorities to support local businesses. This package will run alongside existing financial support measures and the furlough scheme.

"For these reasons, I will be voting in favour of the new restrictions, as we have a clear pathway to return to normality and suitable support in place for the businesses that are affected.

"Let me reassure you, whilst I understand the toll such a lockdown can take on people’s mental health, businesses, personal/family lives, and more, I believe that due to the case levels we are currently seeing, there is no other alternative that will ensure that our NHS remains protected, as well as those most vulnerable in our community.

"Of course, throughout this period, my office team and I will remain on hand to assist local people however we can, from welfare support, signposting financial support avenues, and more. So please, do not hesitate to contact me at james.grundy.mp@parliament.uk should you require my help over the coming weeks ahead.

"For more information about the current restrictions, how to access the Government’s support packages, and more, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus"