A POLITICAL divide has remained open over the decision to move Oxford into Tier 2 restrictions.

Oxford will be moved into the higher level of social and economic restrictions, but surrounding rural areas of Oxfordshire will not.

The two MPs for Oxford backed the measures this week and last week, but also called for the rest of the county to be placed in Tier 2.

READ HERE about the move into Tier 2

However, the four Conservative MPs for the rural areas of Oxfordshire do not want to see their areas placed into Tier 2 yet.

Here is what each of them had to say about the decision to move Oxford into Tier 2 restrictions.

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “It’s time for everyone to come together in our city to respect the new measures and save lives. 

“This isn’t just a public health measure; the decision to ask to move Oxfordshire to Tier 2 was supported by our councils, public health officials, the police, universities, Care Home Association and our local enterprise partnership. However, I am disappointed that their joint recommendation to move the entire county to Tier 2 has not been followed here - it’s a shame we could not achieve that. I will continue to press for that given the spread of the virus in our community. 

“Any constituent who needs my help should get in touch by phone, email or via my website.” 

Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East said: “Growing case numbers across Oxfordshire are concerning - especially where these involve cross-generational transmission. I am sure people in the city will take these new measures very seriously and I urge everyone to comply. 

"I am however concerned that evidence of the need for steps to be taken across Oxfordshire has not been taken on board by the Department of Health, apparently following lobbying by MPs from one political party. 

"It is extremely important that measures are trusted by all and that the process is based on evidence and not politics, so I hope that the Department of Health will not follow this approach in the future."

And Conservative MPs John Howell (Henley), David Johnston (Wantage), Robert Courts (Witney), and Victoria Prentis (Banbury) have again issued a joint statement.

Their thoughts on moving Oxford into Tier 2 were shared via Victoria Prentis' website rather than in request to comment from the Oxford Mail.

The statement said: "We are sorry that the decision of the Government, guided by the judgement of the Chief Medical Officer and Joint Biosecurity Centre, is that the city of Oxford now needs to move into Tier 2 restrictions.

"We can however understand why the decision has been made given the number of cases in the city. As we made clear last week, public health is the priority and we hope this will stop the spread of the virus. 

"We do not want to see the rest of Oxfordshire put into Tier 2, as council leaders have been requesting, if it can be avoided and given the impact this would have on individuals, families and businesses.

"We therefore strongly urge everyone today to redouble their efforts to follow the guidance of hands, face, space to help stop the spread of the virus and help prevent the rest of the county needing to be placed into Tier 2."