THE MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, has said there is a need for further Covid restrictions and schools not reopening.

Mr Cunningham said: "The virus is spreading across the country at an alarming rate and our NHS is under strain. This is an incredibly serious situation and one that requires our Government to act without delay.

"The Prime Minister has said that further restrictions are “inevitable” but doesn’t say what these are or when he’ll take action. We can’t afford for him to be too slow to act again. We need further measures in place now to slow the spread of the virus, protect our NHS, and allow the vaccine to be rolled out.

“I recognise the challenges that schools are facing, and have been contacted by parents, teachers and staff who are understandably concerned about the current situation. Up to half of pupils in England are not returning to school today and further disruption is inevitable. I am pleased Stockton Borough Council have agreed to support schools in the event that they decide not to open. I will continue to support constituents with their concerns about school safety.

“The chaos schools and parents are facing is a result of the Tory Government’s failure to deal with this crisis. Children’s education has been significantly disrupted and I am urging the Education Secretary to publish the Government’s plan to ensure children are properly educated during this pandemic, and for mass testing to be rolled out as soon as schools are open.”