THREE Dorset's MPs have urged the Government to press ahead with easing restrictions next week despite rising Covid case numbers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is today expected to announce a delay in step four of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown.

This follows warnings from scientists and a rise in concerns surrounding the rapid spread of the Delta variant which could lead to a substantial third wave if controls are lifted.

However, MPs for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are calling on the Government to remain steadfast with the easing of lockdown, on June 21, and believe delaying this date would be the “wrong decision”.

The successful vaccine rollout is a key reason Dorset MPs have remained resolute towards continuing with the roadmap schedule.

Both nationally and county-wide, the vaccine programme has been hailed a great success overall, with 60 million doses given across England and more than 950,000 doses across Dorset.

Health professionals and volunteers who have coordinated the response the county have been praised for their efforts during this unprecedented time.

As adults continue to become vaccinated, Poole MP Sir Robert Syms believes that the June 21 easing should remain.

Sir Robert told the Daily Echo: “Given how successful the vaccination programme has been, it is quite clear that the number of infections are still relatively subdued, the numbers going to hospital are much lower than they were before and the numbers dying are very low.

“I think we should proceed with opening up on June 21."

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns also wanted the restrictions to be lifted but added that the Government had to look at the latest data. “Ministers have to make very difficult decisions at this time but we should air on the side now of reopening and allowing people to get their lives and livelihoods back on track," said Mr Burns.

"We have a stunning success with the vaccination programme and that means vast swathes of the population are now at very, very minor risk from Covid or the Covid variants.

“I want to see us reopening but I obviously understand that ministers have to look at the data and the Prime Minister will want to wait until the last possible moment before making a final decision.”

He added: “We have been through such a difficult period and our local hospitality sector has really demonstrated its robustness and its resilience but they are anxious to get on with doing what they do so well – creating happy memories for people and making a profit at the same time.”

A delay, reportedly to July 19, will come as a blow to many businesses, particularly in the wedding and leisure sectors, which had been pinning their hopes on a full summer reopening to help recoup some of the losses of the past year.

Sir Robert said: “A lot of people want to get married and have things already organised on the basis of June 21 being opened up and to delay for a week, a month or however long would be a mistake.

“The Government are being far too cautious and they are using the vaccination programme now not as a means of freeing people, but as a means of saying we need to vaccinate more and more and more.

“If the Government do that, I will oppose it and if it comes to a vote, I will vote against.”

Discussing how important the final step out of lockdown is for the conurbation, Sir Robert said: “If further restrictions last longer, it means businesses are going to struggle to survive and it means people lose jobs.

“Every week you keep restrictions, it has an impact on the economy.

“The economy is recovering because of what we have opened up so far but the final part of it has to be proceeded with so confidence can improve and the economy can continue to grow.

“I think to delay is a mistake and it gives all the wrong signals. People expected that the success of the vaccination programme would lead to restrictions being lifted.

“If the Government delay, I think they are making the wrong decision. Europe is opening up faster than Britain. I think ministers have got it wrong. I think they are listening to the wrong advisers and I think there will be a real row with the Conservative MPs.”

However a senior figure in the BCP hospitality industry, which has been one of the worst hit throughout the pandemic, fears that ploughing ahead with the easing of lockdown could lead us into a fourth lockdown.

Andy Lennox, founder of The Wonky Table hospitality group, said: “I’ve said for a long time that June 21 would not happen. It’s pretty certain it’s not going to happen now.

“In Wonky Table, as hospitality businesses, we can’t afford a fourth lockdown.

“There needs to be a financial package put in place to help those businesses that have not opened. As long as a financial package is put in, we should do whatever we must do.

“If we go into a fourth lockdown, some in hospitality will not come out of it.”

The case rate across England is now at 60.2 infections per 100,000 people over the latest seven rolling period – across Dorset and BCP this number remains much lower than the national average at 29.1 and 16.6, respectively.

The most recent figures from Public Health Dorset show only one person is currently in hospital with Covid-19 and there have been no further deaths since May 3.

Sir Christopher Chope MP, who represents Christchurch, said given the current case rates, an extension to lockdown would impact on an overwhelming majority who do not have Covid.

The veteran Conservative politician said: “I would like to see the full reopening on Monday as has been promised.

“There is just no justification that this goes on for any longer.”

“Why can’t people go and have their weddings? What we are talking about essentially is the Government being bossy and behaving like spoil sports without any justification.

“If there is to be an announcement of something different than lockdown ending completely on June 21, there will have to be regulations brought in because the current status quo position is that lockdown comes to an end on June 21.”

When asked about the recent increase in Covid infections both in Dorset and nationally, Sir Christopher said it was a "propaganda war".

He said: “The costs of carrying on with an unnecessary lockdown far outweigh any possible marginal benefit.”

The latest figures from Public Health England (PHE) show there have been 42,323 cases of the Delta variant confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from the previous week. As of June 8, there were 86 Delta variant cases identified across Dorset.

The Government agency estimates the strain is 60 per cent more transmissible compared with the previously dominant Alpha, or Kent, variant, and that cases are doubling every four-and-a-half days in some parts of England.