Yesterday, in some of the starkest governmental advice yet, the over 70s were told to stay away from the rest of the public, following advice from Public Health England.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle explained that this would mean MPs and peers in this age category are also “strongly advised against” mixing in the community as from Monday.
The decision to isolate over 70s has already caused a lot of upset; many people this age and above are fit and healthy, and understandably feel frustrated at the thought of being away from friends, family and society for the next few months.
Both former and current politicians have been especially vocal about their resistance to the guidelines.
Yesterday, David Blunkett, 72, said they would “consign a particular cohort to misery”.
Jeremy Corbyn, 70 himself, has refused to say whether he will follow them.
The current Labour Party leader has already accused the government of being “complacent” and “well behind the curve” in its handling of the coronavirus crisis, so perhaps this is not too surprising.
But it does point out how difficult it is going to be to impose this instruction in a liberal society – particularly when so many people over 70 are such dynamic members of our workforce.
Some of the biggest names in parliament fall into this category. Just look at the below MPs ConHome has counted, who will be affected by the guidance:
- Jeremy Corbyn (Labour), MP for Islington North, 70
- Sir Peter Bottomley (Conservative), MP for Worthing West, 75
- Barry Sheerman (Labour Co-operative), MP for Huddersfield, 79
- Sir Roger Gale (Conservative), MP for North Thanet, 76
- Dame Margaret Beckett (Labour), MP for Derby South, 77
- Sir Bill Cash (Conservative), MP for Stone, 79
- Sir George Howarth (Labour), MP for Knowsley, 70
- David Davis (Conservative), MP for Haltemprice and Howden, 71
- Clive Betts (Labour), MP for Sheffield South East, 70
- Sir Paul Beresford (Conservative), MP for Mole Valley, 73
- John Spellar (Labour), MP for Warley, 72
- Dame Margaret Hodge (Labour), MP for Barking, 75
- Gordon Henderson (Conservative), MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, 72
- Graham Stringer (Labour), MP of Blackley and Broughton, 70
- Sir Christopher Chope (Conservative), MP for Christchurch, 72
- Sir Greg Knight (Conservative), MP for East Yorkshire, 70
- Sir David Evennett (Conservative), MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, 70
- Virendra Sharma (Labour), MP for Ealing Southall, 72
- Bob Stewart (Conservative), MP for Beckenham, 70
- Pauline Latham (Conservative), MP for Mid Derbyshire, 72
- Jack Dromey (Labour), MP for Birmingham Erdington, 71
- Marion Fellows (SNP), MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, 70
- Marie Rimmer (Labour), MP for St Helens South and Whiston, 72
- Tony Lloyd (Labour), MP for Rochdale, 70