Conservative Wycombe MP and former minister Steve Baker said the government needs to “stop fear” in order to bring hope as the country continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The MP told the Commons on Tuesday: “This country needs hope. It needs hope which is sure, which is certain and which is not far away.

“And it needs it first and foremost because of the scale of the disease in our hospitals including here in Buckinghamshire where the number of patients in hospital has not exceeded the first wave.”

Mr Baker added: “I don’t know what a lockdown enthusiast says to someone, as someone said to me, that they’ve lost their livelihood, their life’s work towards the end of their working life and that in their household of six people, they know nine people who have committed suicide.

“What do you say to such a person? We need to move beyond anecdotes to real data and that’s why I and my colleagues have been calling for proper cost-benefit analysis throughout this pandemic.

“We cannot afford to focus on any one aspect of this crisis. To bring hope, the government needs to stop fear. I think that the fearful are already terrified, we need other methods to reach those who’ve not been complying.”