Lockdown measures are ‘a massive infringement of normal civil liberties’ and should be lifted as soon as possible’, according to an influential Trafford MP.

Sir Graham Brady, Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said: “The new nationwide rules should provide an opportunity to release the local restrictions at least in Trafford, where numbers of positive tests remain relatively low.

“It remains my view that these rules are a massive infringement of normal civil liberties and they should be lifted as soon as possible. The government has justified them on the premise that the rise positive test rates will lead to more hospital admissions but as yet (thankfully) there has been no evidence of  this happening.”

There was a slight increase in the number of people being admitted to hospitals in Trafford with COVID-19 last week, according to the borough’s Director for Public Health, Eleanor Roaf.

The borough’s current infection rate is 31.2 per 100,000 people. That means it is on ‘amber alert level’, but following a decrease in infection rate earlier this week, this has now levelled off and remains stable.

At the end of August, the government announced it was going to free Trafford from Greater Manchester’s local lockdown measures that prevented people from mixing with other households indoors.

But after just 12 hours, the borough was plunged back into lockdown as the government u-turned and opted to act on the concerns of council leader Coun Andrew Western over increased infection rates.

At the time Sir Graham made it clear he did not agree with the government’s u-turn, and Coun Western made it clear he felt the government had previously taken Sir Brady’s opinions above his own, those of other Trafford MPs and council representatives.

But Sir Graham is concerned about the damage that lockdown has done across the country, including families being kept apart, relationships breaking down, job losses and dangerous health problems like cancer going unchecked.

He said: “We must always weigh in the balance the damage that these rules do: mental health effects, family break up, grandparents not seeing their grandchildren, loss of jobs and business failure and a dreadful toll of cancer, heart disease and other non-COVID illnesses going undiagnosed. This should be lifted quickly unless a real need for it can be demonstrated.”

MPs in Trafford are divided over what numbers the government should be focusing on during this stage of the pandemic, but all agree that they wish the government had done things differently.

Kate Green, Shadow Education Secretary and Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, said: “I’m very concerned by the recent increase in cases. While we all hope for a vaccine, that still looks months off, and the national test and trace scheme is underperforming.

“It was a mistake for ministers to rely on private call centres; I want our local Public Health teams to be in the lead in identifying and contacting people who need to self isolate, and offering them the support they need.

“Government needs to ensure the national testing programme works much better and faster too. People on low incomes, with no right to sick pay, worry about how they’ll take time off work to self isolate.

“It’s vital they get the financial support they need, so they can put their health and that of their family and community first.”

Mike Kane, Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, said: “It’s clear the government’s response to COVID-19 is collapsing around us. We are seeing increased cases, more admissions to hospital and issues around accessing tests.

“Some of my constituents are doing the right thing and isolating while trying to get tested, but are being offered tests hundreds of miles away and don’t have access to cars?

“The communications from central government have been confusing across the board, with u-turn after u-turn as illustrated in Trafford just last week.

“At a time when clarity is vital for us to help control this terrible disease the government must do better.”

On track and trace, Mr Kane didn’t hold back either.

He said: “The government have had six months to establish a working track and trace system and they did not. In my opinion they failed to prepare for the return to schools, universities and workplaces and the resultant spike in cases.

“Had they ensured adequate capacity to test and then for the laboratories to process these tests we might not be in the position we are now with schools sending home whole cohorts of children who have only just returned. I would like my constituents to understand what they can and cannot do and why.

“I would like the government to understand the impact of their chaotic response to this crisis on the community and to do better in communicating serious public health messages.”