Those who would dismiss the Omicron variant would do well to listen to a recording of a young, fit, athletic member of my family who describes what it is like. And is not an experience any of us should take lightly.

That partly explains my decision to support what the Government are doing to try to combat the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the highly controversial vote on Tuesday. I do of course understand the strength of feeling from those who believe that this is some kind of a thin edge of a wedge which will lead to autocratic interference in our freedoms. I understand it, but do not wholly subscribe to that concern, and suspect that it may be a little overstated.

I am no scientist nor epidemiologist, and therefore on balance took the view that accepting the experts’ advice and voting with the Government was overall likely to be of benefit to my constituents' health and well-being. The particular aspect of the proposals to which many constituents from the Libertarian wing (as am I) object are the so-called ‘Covid Passport’ provisions. Yet the requirement that at major events (over 500 people with many exceptions) you need to be able to show a negative lateral flow test from the last 24 hours, or that you are double vaccinated, is actually less than premier league football games, for example, have been demanding in recent months.

We know that the Omicron variant is incredibly infectious, with rates doubling in the UK every 2 days. We know that having one or two jabs has little impact on your chance of getting and transmitting the virus, but a booster does reduce it by 75%. It seems inevitable that Omicron will spread across the population extraordinarily quickly, and all we can hope to do is slow it slightly.  There has been independent modelling suggesting that if we do nothing, it will lead to 75,000 extra deaths in the UK by April. That may well be an overstatement, but I am concerned that if we do not do something to constrain it, it will lead to many more deaths and hospitalisations. After all, if we have been over stringent, we could easily reverse these measures, but we cannot reverse tragic deaths.

There are strong arguments on either side. But doing nothing does not seem to me to be a justifiable option. We know this tsunami of infection is hitting the nation - if it does lead to a rise in deaths (which is definitely possible), how could I justify having refused to do anything about it?  This pandemic has already killed 150,000 people in the UK. This is not just a seasonal cold.

So I understand the threats to individual liberties, and will continue to monitor any further infringement of them. But for now, I believe that the balance is in favour of safeguards against infection rather than safeguards of our freedoms. That is why I supported the Government in the votes last night.