John Penrose, MP                                        25 October 2023                    


Dear John


I thought I would do a quick note to reinforce a few points which I didn’t put over strongly enough when we had a chat whilst you were out canvassing the other day. I’ve done my share of this for the Libs and Lib Dems over more than 30 years. As you must have realised I’m committed to political debate and activity and have done a stint on Woodspring Council. I’m not actually in favour of partisan politics in local government and generally took an independent line which meant supporting Conservative policies when I felt they were right for local people.


For a number of years, now, I have not been a member of any political party as I was appalled by the scandal of MPs' election expenses and a few years later the shameful breaking of the LibDems’ election promise not to raise tuition fees. I remain extremely dismayed at the desperately immature behaviour displayed by MPs from all parties at PMQs – I just can’t see how making silly farmyard noises contributes to rational discussion or decision-making.


On the issue of Covid I feel very strongly that you and all your fellow MPs have failed in your prime duty to protect people – from the harm of serious illness and the even greater harm of dying. Allowing over 231,000 people of all ages to die from Covid has been unimaginably tragic. About 73,000 of these deaths have occurred since Johnson and Javid lifted mandatory precautions in July 2021 with their “living with Covid” policy. This in effect became a strategy of herd immunity and has been disastrous in terms of spreading the virus which is still completely out of control.


At present it is directly killing 263 people a week, about 14,000 a year, according to the government’s own data but this number is likely to be much higher if deaths brought on by Covid, such as heart attacks, were included. It is also of course bringing enormous disruption to the NHS, schools and the economy generally.


When we spoke I reminded you of the many representations I have made to you and other politicians through letters, posts on my website and tweets. I have looked through them again and they all stand the test of time in that they accurately predicted what would follow from serious misjudgements in government policy. My first letter to you urged an immediate and tight lockdown which would have saved thousands of lives.


Subsequent correspondence warned that elimination of the virus rather than mitigation was the only course to take, that lives were a priority over livelihoods and that there was no balance to be struck between protecting lives and protecting the economy. I expressed my shock at Charles Walker’s comments about the elderly and Liam Brady saying we were becoming a fascist state by closing pubs at 10pm.


I hope you can find the time to look at the following two links to confirm what I am saying.


The death toll from Covid in our country has been horrific. As my MP your support of government policies has resulted in 231,000 deaths which have virtually all been avoidable. I don’t know how

many of your constituents have died from Covid but the average for each MP is 354. Each death from Covid here in the Weston constituency and elsewhere has brought immeasurable pain and anguish to loved ones.


May I urge you, and all your MP colleagues, once again to reflect as you have never reflected before, on the whole Covid strategy that is now in place – living with Covid, herd immunity by spreading infection, the avoidance of discussion on the subject, and the attempt to show that life is back to normal and that Covid is just a seasonal cold or flu. You said in our conversation that it would be “good” if it did become a seasonal virus like flu which came around every two years or so. As far as I know this is wishful thinking and there is no scientific evidence to support such a theory.


As I said to you there is only one way to bring Covid under control and ultimately almost eliminate it. You were close to agreeing with me when you said prevention is better than cure. The way to chase down the virus is for everyone to make it their mission NOT to get Covid. It is as simple as that. If no one gets it, it cannot be transmitted and therefore will ultimately have nowhere to go.

This does not require lockdowns or restrictions. It does require what should be one of the tenets of your party: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. It means being careful in the presence of other people, keeping one’s distance, having a flow of air in indoor spaces, and wearing a mask in crowded situations. The only mandatory obligations would be masking in healthcare settings and on enclosed transport, and ensuring that all classrooms had proper ventilation and air filters.


As I say in my post we must also invest in accurate, quick and easy to use personal Covid tests, prophylactic lozenges and Covid detectors to test air quality.


With a massive public information campaign and with politicians and well-known people setting an example we would begin to win the war. There would be no more appeasement or surrender but a collective determination to defeat the virus. I accept that being made aware of the dangers of Covid again, for all age groups not just the elderly, will be uncomfortable for many people but there is no reason why it should prevent us from leading normal lives. It cannot possibly be a hardship to wear a mask in hospital or on a crowded train.


All this is the opposite of the present approach – an approach, John,

which I firmly believe has been hopelessly inept, grossly negligent, lacking in compassion and ultimately deeply immoral.


You must know that my views are shared by hundreds of thousands of other people and are regularly advanced by eminent scientists who belong to or follow Independent Sage. I can’t claim to be a scientist but from what I read they are by far the best in the business. I hope you and your colleagues will find time to look at what they are saying.


John – you and your colleagues are bright people and I can only urge you all to think again about what we must do about Covid. You should listen to those of us who have been consistently correct in our assessments of the Pandemic. You should be open to different points of view and challenge your own beliefs and not continually attempt to justify them. You must have the humility to admit to being wrong and to have changed your mind.


Please think again and take action in line with what many of us are firmly advising.  Let us be cautious and caring with Covid and not surrender to it.


Best wishes


Alan Kerr