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Reform Party’s Michelle Ballantyne goes on ‘anti-lockdown rant’ in Holyrood

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MICHELLE Ballantyne has been on an “anti-lockdown rant” at Holyrood, in which she claimed that lockdown does not work to prevent the spread of Covid.

The MSP was speaking out against two Scottish Statutory Instruments (SSIs) which would amend and extend lockdown legislation.

Ballantyne claimed that a wide range of scientific studies had pointed to the conclusion that “non-pharmaceutical restrictions such as lockdown” do not result in fewer deaths from the coronavirus.

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She added: “In short, lockdowns don’t do what is claimed of them.”

Ballantyne raised concerns around the limiting of gatherings to two people saying it would “exacerbate the isolation and hopelessness” which young people are feeling as a result of lockdown.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon rejects Tory claims Scotland is lagging behind in jag roll-out

She also stressed that she was “in no way” dismissing the dangers of the coronavirus or suggesting ministers “do not care or are not trying to do their best”.

Ballantyne finished by asking MSPs to consider the “collateral damage the efforts to suppress the virus were having”.

Responding to Ballantyne’s contribution on Twitter, SNP MSP Gillian Martin wrote: “Michelle Ballantyne in Parliament on an anti-lockdown rant – apparently the restrictions and measures outweigh the effects of the virus. Good god.

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“Just in case any of you were wondering what this new party of hers is going to go on…. Seems it is Covid denial. Dangerous.”

Ballantyne was named the leader in Scotland of Nigel Farage’s Reform Party earlier this month. The party had previously been called the Brexit Party.

Ballantyne now sits as the Reform Party’s only MSP, despite having won her seat on the list as a Conservative party candidate.

Professor Stephen Reicher, from Independent Sage, told the National that those who claimed to have scientific evidence lockdowns did not work, as Ballantyne did in Parliament, were “cherry-picking”.

READ MORE: Scientist explains how Scottish Covid vaccine tool works – when will you get yours?

He said lockdown sceptics had “obsessively searched for something to prove what they already thought they knew. If you search hard enough, statistically you’re bound to find something.

“If you do what you should do as a scientist and impartially look at the data in the round, what you will find without any doubt whatsoever is that restricting the forms of interaction we have impacts on the ability of the virus to transmit.”

Reicher went on: “The thing that doesn’t work is to have half measures, inadequate measures, that’s the worst of all worlds. With half measures what happens is you have all the pain but without the gain.

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“What these people do by saying ‘oh we’ll do nothing’ is they allow us to get into a real crisis where we have to take emergency measures.”

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