DORSET MP Richard Drax told the House of Commons we need a ‘Plan B’ coronavirus response – accusing the government of destroying millions of lives with lockdowns while waiting for a vaccine that may never come.

The South Dorset MP is one of a rising number of Conservative MPs opposed to lockdowns, which he claims are ruining livelihoods, wrecking the economy, ripping away vital life experiences for young people, and leaving tens of thousands of patients untreated for other illnesses.

During a Covid-19 update in the House of Commons Chamber, he chastised Health Secretary Matt Hancock for suggesting that lockdown sceptics wanted to ‘let the virus rip’, saying: “First, may I tell the Secretary of State that no one wants to let the virus rip, and that such language is unhelpful?”

He added: “As I understand it, the Government’s intention is to continue shutting down our country’s economy to a greater or lesser extent, destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the process, until a vaccine is found.

“That might never happen, and even if it does, there is no guarantee that it will work. We need a plan B, and I would be grateful if my right hon. Friend could tell the House what that is.”

Mr Hancock responded by insisting the country must act to suppress the virus, adding: “Even though the restrictions have their impacts—I understand that, and I feel that—they are better than the consequences of the action that would have to be taken to keep the virus under control were it to get out of hand once again.”

Speaking after the exchange, Mr Drax voiced fears of the longstanding impact lockdowns will have on the country.

He said: “We are going to look back on this country and see such devastation that will take many years to put right.

“While I wouldn’t want anyone to get ill from this virus, it affects a very small minority of people. We need to allow those who are vulnerable to make their own choices and put the resources into keeping them safe, while allowing the other 99% of the population to get on with our lives and keep the country going. So many lives are being destroyed.

“We can not keep shutting down the country whilst we wait for a vaccine that may never arrive.”

New regionalised lockdown regulations were implemented on Monday, with areas of the country put into three tiers of risk – medium, high and very high.

Dorset currently remains in the lowest ‘tier one’, which means residents must continue to abide by the ‘rule of six’ and 10pm curfew.

The tiers are being regularly reviewed across the country as infection rates are monitored.