TOP TRENDING

Boris Johnson's allies blame & # 39; gotcha & # 39; questions for the prime minister's botched Covid lockdown rules


Boris Johnson rallied the Cabinet for Crisis Talks today when allies blamed the Prime Minister for "gotcha" issues that botched his own coronavirus lockdown policies.

The Prime Minister meets with his senior ministers as he struggles to get back to the top after being embarrassed about the draconian rules imposed on households in the northeast.

The mistake sparked a rare apology from Mr Johnson, who admitted that he had "spoken incorrectly" by suggesting that different households in groups of six could legally connect indoors.

It has also sparked a furious Tory uprising over the government that has imposed restrictions on millions of people without parliamentary scrutiny amid growing concerns over the devastating economic and employment effects.

Whips are desperately trying to strike a deal with rebels who tonight tabled an amendment to a crunch motion renewing the sweeping powers of the coronavirus law.

Tory MPs insisted that there is no hope for ordinary members of the public if Mr Johnson cannot "keep up" with government changes.

But Economic Secretary Alok Sharma cleared the excitement this morning, accusing journalists of turning the situation into a "quiz show" and saying people should check the councils' websites instead of listening to the prime minister.

& # 39; With regard to this question, there is a slight & # 39; Gotcha & # 39; element. They're a flagship when it comes to serious news and it's not a quiz show, ”he told BBC Radio 4's Today program.

When asked if he thought that asking ministers to explain their coronavirus regulations was as trivial as taking a quiz question, he said, “No, absolutely not. However, I tell you it is important that if people want to understand the exact restrictions they have in areas that are more restricted, go to the (local authorities) websites. & # 39;

Another hectic day in the coronavirus crisis:

  • Boris Johnson scrambles to secure vote-holding agreement with Tory MPs before new coronavirus lockdown restrictions are imposed after dozen threatened government change;
  • Cabinet hawks berate Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance for terrible second-wave warnings as the Prime Minister prepares for a press conference on Downing Street.
  • Ministers fear that the public will show increasing signs of "lockdown fatigue" as the pandemic drags on and rules become more complicated.
  • There are allegations that Covid's press conference will now be held weekly again as high-level advisers believe the prime minister needs to have more influence.

Boris Johnson is leaving Downing Street today for the Foreign Office where the Cabinet is being held because there is more room for social distancing

Then, when the bug was mocked, Mr Johnson had to tweet to clear up the confusion. He said he had spoken wrongly and that households should not mix indoors regardless of the number

Economic Secretary Alok Sharma (pictured in Whitehall today) accused journalists of turning the lockdown situation into a "quiz show" and said people should check councils' websites instead of listening to the prime minister

Economic Secretary Alok Sharma (pictured in Whitehall today) accused journalists of turning the lockdown situation into a "quiz show" and said people should check councils' websites instead of listening to the prime minister

Leeds college students drinking as strict new coronavirus restrictions are sweeping the country amid an increase in caes

Leeds college students drinking as strict new coronavirus restrictions are sweeping the country amid an increase in caes

What did the Prime Minister say about the new rules in North East England and why is he wrong?

WHAT DID THE PM SAY?

“The rule of six is ​​outside of areas like the Northeast where additional measures have been taken, six inside and six outside.

“And in the northeast and other areas where particularly strict measures have been taken, you should follow instructions from local authorities.

“But it's six in a house or six in hospitality, but as I understand it, not six outside. That's the situation there. & # 39;

WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL RULES?

In the Northeast:

Starting tomorrow, mixing between households indoors, including pubs and restaurants, will be prohibited.

The rules apply to Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland.

There is evidence against mixing with other households outdoors – for example in pub gardens or parks – although this is not prohibited by law.

In the rest of England:

The rule of six applies by law across England, which means that gatherings shouldn't be larger – but there is no other restriction on shuffling households.

The 10pm curfew on pubs, restaurants and bars applies across England.

There are now local locks in large parts of England – around 16 million Britons currently live under such local restrictions.

The new measures for the Northeast came after the government announced last Friday that it would ban household mixing in private homes in Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds.

A week earlier, on September 18th, ministers announced a ban on household socializing in Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire.

In the rest of the UK:

In addition to causing confusion, there are different rules in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Mixing in households is prohibited in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, households are not allowed to mix indoors, with the exception of bubbles for individuals and certain other exceptions, and no more than six people from two households can meet in private gardens.

Meanwhile, Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales have been on-site lockdown from 6pm on Monday, meaning people cannot enter or leave these areas without a reasonable apology.

They cannot hang out with someone they do not live with indoors as extended households are suspended.

Similar restrictions already exist in Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

A terrible day for the government began yesterday when Skills Minister Gillian Keegan suffered a series of car accident interviews Tuesday morning, admitting that she was unable to answer key questions about new curbs taking effect from midnight.

After a speech at Exeter College in Devon, Johnson was later asked about the Northeast lockdown and said: “Under the rule of six outside areas like the Northeast where additional action has been taken, there are six inside and six outside.

“And in the northeast and other areas where particularly strict measures have been taken, you should follow instructions from local authorities.

“But it's six in a house or six in hospitality, but as I understand it, not six outside. That's the situation there. & # 39;

Whitehall sources claimed No10 was blind to Matt Hancock's decision to push the new restrictions, which were only expected later this week.

However, former minister Steve Baker, one of the rebel ringleaders, who urged parliament to play a bigger role in deciding on the lockdown, showed the confusion that was caused.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “I think it was a vivid example of the problems you have when a hundred laws of parliament are used to introduce 247, I believe, pieces of delegated legislation that repeats must be change and revocation.

“When you get such a big and changing law, you even find ministers and the prime minister can't keep up.

What possible hope can the public have? I had a minister say to me yesterday, with horror in my eyes at the disease, that we may have to change the law every 24 hours.

"We can't possibly expect 70 million people to keep up with the law, which changes every 24 hours – that would be chaos and ruin."

Mr Sharma hinted that concessions might be on the way as the government tries to quell a Commons rebellion over coronavirus laws.

Mr Sharma said, “The reason we have to get these in pretty quickly sometimes is to actually protect people – and I know all MPs, Steve (Baker) and others totally understand that – and the problem is control.

“If we've put restrictions in place, we have to make sure that there is a vote within 28 days, otherwise they will expire.

"But colleagues are asking if there is some way before decisions are made that they can be involved and I know that we in the government will look into this and come up with some suggestions."

When asked if there would be concessions, the minister said: "We are looking around, as I said – I do not want to anticipate anything that will come of it."

The Prime Minister's mistake had nasty echoes from Lucas' skit that aired on Channel 4 at the start of the Great British Bake Off last week.

The comedian was dressed as Mr. Johnson and was attending a fake press conference on Downing Street. Lucas mocked the complicated rules, telling people to "bake in a tent" if they have to, before adding, "don't bake in a tent."

The government is desperate to ease a mutiny among the dozen of MPs who have come up behind an amendment by backbench chief Sir Graham Brady. It insists that commons votes should be held before any future restrictions are put in place.

Mr Johnson asked the Tory rebels to work with him to avoid a harmful rebellion – although Spokesman Lindsay Hoyle is not expected to put the amendment to a vote tonight.

A Tory MP in the northeast told the Telegraph: "What happened to Boris only reinforced the case for greater parliamentary scrutiny of new rules. He can't figure out the rules because they have no logic. & # 39;

Mr Johnson rushed to defuse the series via his undercover statement of the lockdown within hours and rarely apologized.

"Sorry, I misspelled it today," he wrote.

“In the Northeast, new rules mean you can't meet people from different households in indoor social settings, including pubs, restaurants, and at home.

“You should also avoid coming into contact with other households outside.

& # 39; This is important in order to control the spread of the coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow guidelines from local authorities. & # 39;

Mr Johnson could face another difficult day as he will address the nation at a press conference with medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.

It could provide a new avenue for both Mr Johnson's and the critics of the Scientists in the face of anger over the direction of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Prime Minister has defended his advice and expertise, which has resulted in local bans and early pub closings, Tory MPs have laid their anger on the couple for the past few days, calling for them to be fired.

The government's use of the full powers granted by parliament at the start of the coronavirus crisis has fueled growing discontent among Tories.

The Coronavirus Act 2020, which together with the Health Protection Act of 1984 underpins the lockdown, must be renewed every six months. The vote is due tomorrow.

But ministers have tried to come to an agreement with Sir Graham's rebel gang after threatening to derail the process. The government is now expected to undertake to hold votes where practicable before further restrictions are imposed.

Cabinet sources told MailOnline they believe a compromise is about to be finalized.

Former minister Sir Desmond Swayne warned this morning that some MPs could vote against the renewal of the coronavirus law unless deep concessions are made.

He accused ministers of "Fiat" governance and told BBC Radio 4's Today program: "If the amendment is not voted on and the government does not respond satisfactorily to the amendment's demands, many people will vote. " against a renewal of an act.

"Well, if I say a lot, there will be a number, but the government will certainly not be defeated."

Senior Tory Steve Baker has compared some of the government's coronavirus restrictions to George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, specifically pointing out a ban on singing and dancing in bars, cafes and restaurants.

The prime minister is also under increasing pressure from hard-hit hotel managers to call for a constant 10 p.m. curfew review.

More than 100 of the UK's largest restaurant chains, including Wetherspoon and Pizza Hut, wrote to Mr Johnson asking for a three-week review – and that it should be deleted if it can't handle the steep rise in cases.

Matt Hancock and Michael Gove today

Chief Whip Mark Spencer

Matt Hancock and Michael Gove (pictured left) were in the cabinet today, as was chief whip Mark Spencer (right) who tried to broker a deal with Tory rebels

The PM today

Matt Lucas & # 39; parody

The Prime Minister's confusion today bore nasty resemblances to comedian Matt Lucas' recent parody of the confusing rules of government

How the number of new coronavirus cases announced daily has changed since the first wave of the pandemic, when hardly any patient was tested for the disease. Top experts believe that more than 100,000 cases actually occurred every day in the spring

How the number of new coronavirus cases announced daily has changed since the first wave of the pandemic, when hardly any patient was tested for the disease. Top experts believe that more than 100,000 cases actually occurred every day in the spring

Mr Johnson appealed to MPs to renew powers in the Coronavirus Act, saying the nation remains in "a grave situation".

“Nobody wants to do things like that. Nobody in their right mind wants to stop people from singing and dancing in pubs or from having fun in the normal way, ”he told the press conference.

"I appreciate the (Orwell) characterization, but if we all work together and solve this problem, get rid of this virus, we can move on with our strategy of keeping education open, keeping the economy moving and how I work for the day. Let's say if I believe that these medico-scientific improvements will really bring the long-term liberation we need.

“And to deliver it, we all have to work together and follow instructions. I say this with respect to my colleagues in Parliament and I know they will have the opportunity to speak on these issues, to discuss them properly and to discuss them as parliamentarians should. & # 39;

He also reiterated his commitment to more regular coronavirus debates in the House of Commons, pledging MPs to consult the government's scientific advisers more regularly.

However, after the Prime Minister's plea, further pressure came from the high-level group of MPs on the Liaison Committee, which Mr Johnson is allowed to question in the House of Commons.

Senior Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin wrote to Mr Johnson as committee chairman saying that "a majority of us" support Parliament in voting "before or immediately after the restrictions go into effect.

"The idea that such restrictions can be used without the express consent of Parliament, except in urgent cases, is not universally acceptable and can indeed be challenged by law," said Sir Bernard.

Measures have been tightened in Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.

Aiming to stop a coronavirus resurgence, the health ministry said laws would prohibit indoor mixing between households, including pubs and restaurants.

However, the question remained whether the measures to be enforced with fines would include meeting people from other homes outside the hospitality industry.

When asked yesterday on BBC Radio 4's Today program, Ms. Keegan said, “I'm sorry I can't sort this out.

"I don't know the answer to that question, but I'm sure you can find out the answer to this question."

Urged when asked how to keep people informed of the latest restrictions when even ministers can't, she said, “I'm sorry I can't answer this question. I am sure there are a lot of people who could. I do not represent the northeast. & # 39;

Unrest over new rules, regulations and fines also increased after it became apparent that the authorities will have the power to use "reasonable force" to isolate people themselves.

New laws released by the government say that "reasonable force" can be used when someone refuses to obey an order to stay home after a positive coronavirus test or when they are in contact with someone else has come suffering from the disease.

The authority will be available to all "authorized persons" in reports, which could include so-called "Covid Marshalls", as well as police and council officials.

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Coronavirus