‘Freedom lover’ Boris Johnson defends his lockdown roadmap as the quickest route back to normality

Matt Hancock admitted today he cannot rule out trying to renew controversial Covid laws again in the autumn – as furious Tory backbenchers demanded ‘draconian’ measures are removed ‘at the earliest possible opportunity’.

MPs will vote this afternoon on plans to extend emergency powers to the end of September, despite the lockdown officially ending in June.

And kicking off the debate in the Commons the Health Secretary was unable to guarantee it was the last time they would be asked roll-over the powers, which are largely unprecedented in peace time. 

Up to 60 Conservative lockdown sceptics are planning to vote against the Government, but the rebellion is almost certain to fail with Labour planning to support the law.

Mr Hancock told the restive chamber he ‘cannot answer’ whether the Coronavirus Act will be retired in six months or rolled on.  

‘There are parts of this Act that have allowed us to do good things that everybody would like to see like that, and so when we do come to retire this Act, which we must within one year and preferably within six months, we will need to make sure that we can continue to do that sort of thing and make sure that nurses can be enrolled as easily as possible into the NHS,’ he said.

‘But I cannot answer whether we will be retiring it in six months. My preference would be yes, but given the last year, I think a prediction would be hasty.’ 

It prompted a furious response from Tory backbenchers. Theatrical Broxbourne MP Sir Charles Walker told the Commons: ‘As sure as eggs are eggs, we will be back here in six months at the end of September being asked to renew this legislation again. It is inevitable and anyone who thinks it’s not inevitable is deluding themselves. 

It came after Boris Johnson earlier defended the pace of the lockdown. On a visit to a school in Greenford, north west London, this morning he said: ‘The libertarian in me is also trying to protect people’s fundamental right to life and their ability to live their lives normally and the only way really to restore that for everybody is for us to beat the disease, and the best path to freedom is down the cautious but irreversible road map that we’ve set out – that’s what the freedom-lover wants,’ he said.

But Covid Recovery Group leader Mark Harper, who believes plans to ease the lockdown ‘could safely go more quickly’, said the provisions in the Coronavirus Act should be expired ‘at the earliest possible opportunity’. 

Mr Hancock told the restive chamber he 'cannot answer' whether the Coronavirus Act will be retired in six months or rolled on.

Mr Hancock told the restive chamber he 'cannot answer' whether the Coronavirus Act will be retired in six months or rolled on.

 Mr Hancock told the restive chamber he ‘cannot answer’ whether the Coronavirus Act will be retired in six months or rolled on.

Sir Charles Walker told the Commons: 'As sure as eggs are eggs, we will be back here in six months at the end of September being asked to renew this legislation again.'

Sir Charles Walker told the Commons: 'As sure as eggs are eggs, we will be back here in six months at the end of September being asked to renew this legislation again.'

Sir Charles Walker told the Commons: ‘As sure as eggs are eggs, we will be back here in six months at the end of September being asked to renew this legislation again.’

Boris Johnson (pictured this morning) will face the wrath of his own lockdown-sceptic backbenchers today as he pushes through an extension of lockdown laws until the autumn.

CRG leader Mark Harper, who believes plans to ease the lockdown 'could safely go more quickly', said the provisions in the Coronavirus Act should be expired 'at the earliest possible opportunity'

CRG leader Mark Harper, who believes plans to ease the lockdown 'could safely go more quickly', said the provisions in the Coronavirus Act should be expired 'at the earliest possible opportunity'

CRG leader Mark Harper, who believes plans to ease the lockdown ‘could safely go more quickly’, said the provisions in the Coronavirus Act should be expired ‘at the earliest possible opportunity’

A hardcore of Conservative MPs is expected to rebel against Government plans to extend emergency powers to the end of September, despite the lockdown officially ending in June.

A hardcore of Conservative MPs is expected to rebel against Government plans to extend emergency powers to the end of September, despite the lockdown officially ending in June.

A hardcore of Conservative MPs is expected to rebel against Government plans to extend emergency powers to the end of September, despite the lockdown officially ending in June.

Boris Johnson admits vaccine passports ‘could have a role’ 

Boris Johnson has admitted vaccine passports ‘could have a role to play’ but not until ‘everybody’ is offered a jab.

The PM said the result of the review into coronavirus health certificates can be expected by April 12, although it may not be possible to roll them out until everyone has been offered a dose.

He added it needs to be done carefully because some people have medical reasons they cannot get jabbed and there are ‘moral complexities’ and ‘ethical problems’.

Landlords and brewers today revolted over plans for vaccine passports for pubs after it was revealed hospitality venues could be allowed to bar customers who cannot prove they have had a Covid jab or a negative test.

Mr Johnson had yesterday told MPs landlords might be given powers to impose tough entry requirements on drinkers – and Government sources confirmed this was part of an official review of vaccine passports.

While visiting the the Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery in Greenford, west London, today, Mr Johnson told Sky News: ‘Obviously we’re looking at the issues that are raised by vaccination certification – what can you do?

‘Now, in aviation, clearly there are lots of countries are thinking about using some sort of vaccine passport, and I think that there are three basic components.

‘There’s the vaccine, there’s your immunity that you might have after you’ve had Covid, and then there’s testing. So there are three things that could work together.

‘No decisions have been taken at all. One thing I will make clear is none of this is obviously going to apply on April 12, when it will all be outdoors anyway. So whatever happens on April 12 will be unaffected.

‘All sorts of things are being considered. What we want to do is roll out the vaccine programme and see what that builds in terms of general resistance to the virus. And I do think there is going to be a role for certification.

‘What we’ve said is that we’ll be reporting on the work of the certification group in early April, either on April 5 or on April 12.

‘I think we need to think carefully about the issues – as I’ve said before, there are lots of difficult issues because there are some people who for medical reasons can’t get a vaccination, pregnant women can’t get a vaccination at the moment.

‘You’ve got to be careful about how you do this, you might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccinate passport scheme, even if you wanted such a thing, in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine.’

Industry bosses across Britain said the idea for pubs was ‘absurd’ and ‘unworkable’ and signalled they would not ask customers for proof that they had been inoculated or were clear of coronavirus.

<!—->

Advertisement

‘The controversial parts, the police powers to detain potentially infectious persons which have (been) used unlawfully on a number of occasions … those are intended to be long-term powers – and he has also just suggested that these provisions might be rolled forward a further six months.

‘That is why so many of us are worried. These are extraordinary provisions, not for normal times, and they should be expired at the earliest possible opportunity.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who opened the debate, replied: ‘I actually agree with (Mr Harper) that they should be expired at the earliest opportunity.’

Mr Hancock added that if there are ‘new variants that we need to absolutely pin down’ then ‘having these very targeted interventions for now is important’.

He continued: ‘And I know that we disagree on that point, but I would suggest by voting against all of these renewals, there are a whole load of valuable things that he and I would actually agree on that would not be renewed were that to go through.’

Opening the debate on the coronavirus regulations, Mr Hancock added: ‘Today we debate our road map to recovery and what is legally needed to take the cautious but irreversible path our of this pandemic. 

‘We propose to remove some of the emergency powers that the House put in place a year ago and set the steps of the road map that the Prime Minister has set out into law, replacing the existing national lockdown.’

He continued: ‘The success of this vaccination programme means that we are now able to carefully replace the short-term protection of restrictions we’ve all endured with the long-term protection provided by the vaccine.’

The legislation for restrictions over the coming months, as the Government sets out its road map for coming out of lockdown, will see some restrictions remain in place in England until at least June 21.

There are also question marks over summer holidays taking place after that date, amid a third wave of Covid infections in mainland Europe. 

But Conservative MP Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the CRG, said the vote was a ‘rare opportunity’ for MPs to ‘say no to a new way of life in a checkpoint society’.

‘I was glad to hear the Prime Minister reassure William Wragg MP at the Liaison Committee today that ‘anything that is redundant will go’ in relation to Coronavirus Act powers,’ the former minister said last night.

‘Draconian police powers under Schedule 21, which have a 100 per cent unlawful prosecution record, must be considered ‘redundant’ to say the very least.

‘I am seeking to table an amendment to the motion tomorrow asking ministers to suspend those powers.

‘I now hope the Government can support it.’ 

Government data up to March 23 shows 28,653,523 people have received a first vaccine dose, a rise of 325,650 on the previous day.

A further 98 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the total by that measure to 126,382.

As of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 5,605 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, bringing the total to 4,312,908.

Sir Jeremy Farrar said he believes it is likely that the ban on international travel will need to continue.

The Wellcome Trust director said: ‘I think it will, until we can see progress in Europe with the epidemic coming down and vaccination rates going up in Europe.’

Asked about further testing of people coming in, he said lateral flow tests ‘don’t pick up every case but they do pick up the cases that are more infectious, and that is a very, very important public health intervention’.

On the issue of vaccine certificates and passports, he said he thinks they could cross the line ‘of individual freedoms and public health’, adding that ‘public health works when there is trust and when people want to do things that are their interests, and in the interests of their community, their families and their society’. 

Mr Hancock said this afternoon that the Government’s goal ‘is to be cautious yet irreversible’.

He told the Commons: ‘I must tell the House that whilst I am still by nature an optimist, there remain courses for caution.

‘Cases are rising in some areas and they are rising among those under 18. There are early signs of cases flattening among the working age population too.

‘I am delighted that uptake of the vaccine is now 95 per cent amongst over-60s and that protection against dying from the vaccine is around 85 per cent. Both of these figures, 95 per cent uptake and 85 per cent protection, both of these are higher than we could have hoped for.

‘But while we are confident that we have broken the link between the number of cases and the hospitalisations and deaths that previously inevitably followed, no vaccine is perfect and take-up isn’t 100 per cent.

‘So that link while broken is not yet severed. New variants also remain a risk because we don’t yet know with confidence the impact of the vaccine against the new variants.’

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 68 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply