I very much understand how everyone in Eastbourne and Willingdon will now have their lives put on hold, that businesses will have to reset their plans to reopen and how pupils will again miss out on enriching lessons.
However, as devastating as this lockdown is, the figures clearly set out by the Prime Minister in his announcement were terrifying as we grapple with this new variant of covid that is causing so much harm.
One statistic really stood out for me and that was, if action is not taken, then NHS capacity could be overwhelmed in 21 days.
We simply have no choice but to lockdown again and I will support this measure because it will save lives. But I also want to stress this is not back to square one because the NHS is rapidly scaling up a massive vaccination programme that will deliver us all from the clutches of this pandemic. This is a dark hour right now but help is here and, as time goes on, more and more people will receive the vaccines and covid will be in retreat.
Today, I spoke to headteachers of many schools in Eastbourne and Willingdon and I would like to thank them for all they have done. The online learning schools have developed in this pandemic represents a digital leap and the government continues with support as those eligible for free school meals will still receive them but there is no substitute for the classroom and I will be pressing for measures to allow schools to safely reopen as soon as possible. The effect of this pandemic on schoolchildren of all ages is deep and wide.
Local people and businesses will need support again and I stand ready to assist.
I can now only ask everyone in Eastbourne and Willingdon to rally again to do our bit to stop this virus while the vaccine does its work. If we do not, we will spend more time under restrictions. This is not the happy new year we hoped for but there is now hope and a route map out of this.