Voters and Tory MPs called on Boris Johnson last night to save Christmas by exempting children from his “rule of six”.
A Daily Mail poll found that more than four in ten are in favor of a policy turnaround and grandparents letting their families see their families over the Christmas season. Tory Backbencher devastated the "grotesque" restriction that bans groups of seven or more as of Monday in an attempt to stop a second wave of coronavirus.
Such gatherings are also prohibited in Scotland and Wales – children under the age of 12 are exempt. Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Tory Backbenchers Committee, urged Mr. Johnson to follow suit.
Tim Loughton, a former child minister, said the rule was unsustainable.
Downing Street refuses to withdraw, although young children are much less likely to catch or spread Covid-19. Officials said an age threshold would make enforcement too difficult for police officers.
The mail revealed yesterday that the rule was introduced one after the other in the cabinet. On Thursday, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that those under 12 would be exempted from their version of the rule of six north of the border.
The dispute intensified yesterday when Mark Drakeford, the first minister of Wales, said he would do the same.
A new Daily Mail poll showed that the public has lost confidence in Boris Johnson's government and only Rishi Sunak has a positive approval rating
Boris Johnson's approval rating is -21, although he's still considered more competent than Michael Gove, Priti Patel, and Gavin WIlliamson. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has a -20 approval rating
Boris Johnson is determined to enforce his policies that will jeopardize the Christmas party in England
He told BBC Breakfast, "We have decided that it is not proportionate to include young children who are not susceptible to coronavirus or to spread it as adults are. Therefore, we are not including them."
But Downing Street said, “We reviewed all of the evidence prior to the decision made on Wednesday and decided to move on to a rule of six that applies to all ages.
“We made sure the rules were simplified and strengthened to make them easier to understand. Social distancing measures can only be effective if the public understands and adheres to them. "
Sir Graham said it was useful to exclude young children and would help families argue about which relatives to see over Christmas.
He added, "These are the issues that are raised in a parliamentary debate and they show why it is wrong for the government to set rules in an arbitrary manner without parliamentary scrutiny."
The poll found that 41 percent of voters say the Prime Minister should exempt teenagers, compared with 32 percent who disagree. It also shows that a third of families disrupted their Christmas plans by the rule of six. Three quarters believe that most people will ignore the limit anyway.
Tory Backbencher are in turmoil over the government's plan that could jeopardize Christmas for families across the country with their maximum rule of six. In Scotland, a maximum of six children under the age of 12 are excluded
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative Party leader, said: “Children should not be counted below a certain age.
“I would prefer the six adult rule. We know how this virus spreads and it is spread by young people who go out and party in large groups.
Tory MP Steve Baker said, “It is time for us to truly live like a free people and not be subject to ever changing legal requirements that I believe no one can fully understand now.
"It's not just about Christmas, it's also about Memorial Day."
Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director for Scotland, said that children under the age of 12 usually had mild symptoms and were unlikely to develop the disease.
He added, "The other balance you're trying to strike here is that kids need to play: it's an integral part of their social upbringing."
The JL Partners poll in the Mail found that well over half of respondents support the view that the government's anti-coronavirus strategy is showing signs of "panic" and that millions are using the pandemic as an "excuse" not to to return to their workplace.
It also provides evidence that plans for “Covid Marshals” could become a Snoopers charter. 32 percent say they report about neighbors who they suspect may violate the new rules. 49 percent say they don't.
The Prime Minister will be comforted by support for his “rule of six”. Six in ten say it's fair compared to two in ten who say it's not fair. Fines of up to £ 3,200 are supported for those who break new Covid laws more than once.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Tory Backbenchers Committee, urged Boris Johnson to go along with Nicola Sturgeon's decision to exclude children under the age of 12 from their number of six
But a lot of people draw the line with tougher sentences. A total of 46 percent say it shouldn't be a criminal offense, compared with 43 percent who should. Three-quarters say the government's Covid message is "confusing" overall, while only 12 percent say it isn't.
The survey shows solid public support for calls from ministers and business leaders for employees to return to work.
The poll shows that trust in Mr Johnson's leadership has been marred by mistakes in his coronavirus strategy and his decision to break the law on the Brexit divorce treaty with the EU.
For the first time, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer is on an equal footing with him on who is the best leader. Mr Johnson has fallen to seventh place in the top tories' coronavirus ratings, even behind gawking housing secretary Robert Jenrick.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preferred by Prime Minister by 39 percent, well ahead of Mr Johnson on 31st. Meanwhile, most people think Mr Johnson's £ 100 billion moon shot plan for ten million Covid tests a day is more like moonlight.
A total of 77 percent say this is not believable, and 61 percent believe the huge reported costs are not good value for money.
Only 28 percent say ministers have managed the pandemic well.
Michael Gove helped enforce the rule of 6, despite strong opposition from cabinet colleagues
Michael Gove played a key role in enforcing this week's controversial Covid-19 clampdown that was revealed last night.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock outnumbered Boris Johnson's Covid cabinet Tuesday as he put forward plans to lower the social gathering limit to just six.
Federal Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Economic Secretary Alok Sharma, Transport Minister Grant Shapps and Interior Minister Priti Patel are said to have spoken out in favor of an upper limit of at least eight. However, a cabinet source said that Mr Gove also played a crucial role in ensuring the controversial rule of six was put in place.
The depicted Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove was determined to limit the number of people who could meet in public or private to just six, despite strong objections from several cabinet colleagues who wanted a higher number
The government was forced to announce the dramatic restrictions following dire predictions by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty [left] and the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance [right]
“Michael drove that. He's been consistently on the toughest, most persistent approach for some time, ”the source said.
“There was a lot of disagreement. The Prime Minister was completely torn and the meeting did not end well. "
A cabinet minister told the Mail: "The numbers are terrible and it is clear that we have to do something.
"But the idea that the government is threatening to punish and arrest people for seeing their families makes me sick."
A source close to Mr. Gove confirmed that he "supported moving to six" but had downplayed suggestions for a number. “It was a thorough policy rationale,” the source said.
The prime minister's spokesman said it was "imprecise" to claim Mr Hancock was a lonely voice. A source said a few ministers supported the restriction. No. 10 has also denied that the prime minister had to be "persuaded" to adopt a policy he later described as "breaking my heart".
The new rule of six represents a dramatic reduction in the legal limit on the size of groups that can meet, which was previously 30.
The decision to support them at the Prime Minister's Coronavirus Strategy Committee meeting on Tuesday followed presentations by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance on the virus’s recent surge.