Lockdown is causing ‘massive harm’ says expert
Tory MPs have told Express.co.uk they are growing frustrated with the failure to explain how and when Britain will be freed from the current draconian restrictions. Even some MPs who supported the Government in a vote on lockdown three are now pushing for the Prime Minister to explain what comes next.
With 140 jabs being administered a minute, the UK has already nearly vaccinated four million Brits across the country.
The pace of the rollout puts the Government on course to surpass its target of inoculating the 13 million most vulnerable by February 15.
Yesterday Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said ministers hoped they could start to ease restrictions in March and said all adults in the UK would have been offered a jab by September.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge: “If we can do it faster then great but that is the road map.”
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However, there is growing frustration among Conservatives at the lack of detail for the plan.
One MP privately told Express.co.uk they feared the Government would make an announcement just days before the easing of measures came into place, giving businesses no time to prepare.
They said while they did not expect the Government to put an exact date on which restrictions would be lifted and when, they did want Mr Johnson to outline a broad framework to offer businesses and families hope as to the way forward.
James Daly, Tory MP for Bury North, voted for the current coronavirus lockdown but is also now calling for a clearer exit plan.
He told this website: “Pubs have got to be able to plan what they are going to do.
“They can’t just be told with 24 hours notice they can reopen.
“They’ve got to order stock, they’ve got to get things in place, get their staff off furlough.”
He added: “It can be caveated, as the Prime Minister has done, that if a new mutant strain is found the plan may need to change.”
Meanwhile, lockdown-sceptic Desmond Swayne said while he believed Tory MPs would grow increasingly frustrated if a plan was not outlined, the public would also become disillusioned.
“The longer this goes on the more frustrated people will become and the less likely they are to observe the rules, particularly as they can see the vaccination programme going ahead,” he said.
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“I want to see a sense of urgency about lifting the restrictions given the enormous social and economic cost.”
He too said he was not asking for an exact date from Government that restrictions would lift, but rather a broader framework for the return to normal.
He said: “I don’t think putting your finger in the air and putting a date on it is in any way logical, I think the logical thing is a plan depending on the progress of the vaccinations having an impact on reducing potential admissions.”
Just 12 MPs voted against the third national lockdown for England when it was put to a vote in the Commons at the start of the month.
However, Mr Johnson suffered his biggest rebellion as Prime Minister in December when 55 backbenchers rejected the three-tier coronavirus system.
The large revolt is an indication of how a discontent at Mr Johnson’s lockdown strategy could grow if an exit plan is not published.
Last week Steve Baker, the deputy chair of the Tory backbench Covid Recovery Group (CRG), wrote to MPs calling on them to write to the Government chief whip and make clear an exit strategy was needed.
He told them “inevitably the Prime Minister’s leadership will be on the table” unless Mr Johnson outlined the return to freedom.
However, in a post on social media after his note to MPs became public, Mr Baker said: “What this country needs is the complete success of Boris Johnson, with his excellent EU deal, a successful vaccination programme and a road to recovery, back to freedom.
“I am clear Boris is the only person to lead us out of these difficulties and I support him in that endeavour.”
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