MP likens government to Oliver Cromwell over Christmas restrictions

Sir Desmond asked Boris Johnson: “The last ruler that told us how we may or may not celebrate Christmas was Oliver Cromwell. It didn’t end well, did it?”

Darren Slade www.bournemouthecho.co.uk

A CONSERVATIVE MP has likened the government to Puritan Oliver Cromwell as Britain faces restrictions on its Christmas celebrations.

New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne questioned the prime minister after a Commons statement on the restrictions that will take the place of the current lockdown.

The prime minister said the UK deserved “some kind of Christmas”, but rules on social gatherings have not yet been finalised.

Sir Desmond asked Boris Johnson: “The last ruler that told us how we may or may not celebrate Christmas was Oliver Cromwell. It didn’t end well, did it?”

Oliver Cromwell, who ruled England as Lord Protector from 1653-1658, supported measures that sought to stop the festivities which surrounded Christmas.

Boris Johnson said: “My right honourable friend is completely right in his basic instincts, which I share, and his fundamental libertarian yearnings, which I also share.

“I love Christmas. I love a big get-together. I think the trouble is that the people of this country can see that there is a real risk that if we blow it with Christmas, with a big blowout Christmas, then we’ll pay for it in the new year and they want a cautious and balanced approach and that’s what we will deliver for the whole UK.”

Sir Desmond’s concise question drew praise from deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, who said: “Can I make a plea for all members to be as brief for the right honourable gentleman for New Forest West? Because after two hours we’re not even half way through the number of people who are here hoping to ask questions in this statement.”