This week has probably been the toughest since I was elected as MPfor Bassetlaw last December.
It now seems a very long time since I contracted Covid-19 myself back in March and I don’t think any of us appreciated at that point either the scale of disruption or how long it would continue.
Even now we cannot say for sure.
I went into politics more than 20 years ago because I believe strongly in individual freedoms and choice.
Therefore, it has been particularly difficult to reconcile these beliefs with measures that restrict our daily lives in ways we could never have imagined.
I fought long and hard for Bassetlaw and the rest of north Nottinghamshire to be kept separate from the rest of the county when the tier system was introduced.
In the end our rates increased too and whilst I was critical of some of the extra restrictions introduced, such as those on the beauty industry, I understood why something had to be done.
I have strongly argued that lockdowns should be avoided and I know that the effects on not just the economy, but also people’s mental health are significant.
In the last week, however, the medical evidence we have been presented with has been stark.
If things continue as they are, it is projected that we could be looking at between 2000 to 4000 deaths a day from Covid-19.
I have spoken to countless people over the last few months who have had problems with operations or medical appointments being cancelled and we could be looking at a situation where this becomes unmanageable very soon and our hospitals are overwhelmed.
I have said many times that I am not an epidemiologist or a medical or scientific expert, I have to act on the professional advice I am given. And after hours’ worth of briefings and meetings I have come to the conclusion that, unfortunately, there appears to be no alternative to this lockdown.
This doesn’t make the decision any easier and it’s not something I want to do.
But what is the alternative?
At the moment there is none.
Brendan Clarke-Smith is MP for Bassetlaw.