BOURNEMOUTH East MP Tobias Ellwood said the government should be using up to date data which would have put Dorset in Tier 1 of coronavirus restrictions.

Yesterday, November 27, it was announced BCP and Dorset Council areas would be in Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions.

And speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Ellwood said: “We must recognise the prime minister is right, we don’t want to throw away the hard-fought gains, especially so close to Christmas.

“But, as you imply, down here in Dorset we entered lockdown with very low numbers, we’ve come out of it with even lower numbers.

“The last week’s data showed us drop even further by a third and here we are, similar to the Isle of Wight, but in Tier 2 and that’s really going to impact on our hospitality industry which of course has been devastated so much because of this pandemic.

“So, we’d really like to see the criteria, see the justification for this, and also better understand what we need to do to get out of this Tier.

“I think clarity of communication is so important at this time.

“The key criteria is (cases) per 100,000 because that gives you a proportion in the population that you can compare with elsewhere because Dorset is a small county, there’s no point comparing us with Yorkshire.

“Here it’s 67 cases per 100,000, in Bournemouth it’s slightly higher than that. Over 60s, the numbers are not too dissimilar.

“You then have the pressure on the hospitals themselves. But we had a mini outbreak of Covid inside the hospital which has skewered the numbers.

“That has been dealt with very, very swiftly indeed, but it did affect our data.

“But my biggest gripe I think is the fact that the data we are using, they made the decision on November 25, using last week’s data for an event that’s going to happen next week.

“I would really like the decisions to be made using up to date data a couple of days before these new restrictions come in.

“I’d also go further than that to say I would have liked to have seen a blanket rule across the county of a national travel ban, maybe up to ten to 15 miles, so that areas that are in Tier 1 are better protected and areas that are in Tier 3 can be better targeted with support.

“It’s lives versus livelihoods and we know how damaging this pandemic has been to our economy.

“The prime minister has to make very tough decisions, but the fact we are basing our decisions on data that is a couple of weeks old, I don’t think is right.”