Strategy under fire
Starmer and Tory MP attack PM’s Covid plan
Sir Keir Starmer: government losing control
Boris Johnson’s Covid strategy came under fire from Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer and from within his own party as a Conservative MP resigned from the government.
Chris Green, the Tory member for Bolton West and Atherton, was the parliamentary private secretary for the leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans.
He resigned just hours after the Labour leader accused Mr Johnson of losing control of the pandemic and demanded Britain be plunged into a nationwide “circuit-breaker”.
Mr Green wrote to the Prime Minister claiming “the attempted cure is worse than the disease”.
It is the second time he has resigned from government having quit in 2018 over Brexit.
Mr Green wrote: “There is a healthy debate on how we can eliminate this coronavirus or how we can live with it and this is being led by many distinguished academics, epidemiologists and other specialists.
“I believe that there are better alternatives to the Government’s approach, so I therefore tender my resignation.”
Earlier, Sir Kier said that a complete shutdown of up to three weeks was required in England. Aware of a backlash from businesses, he stated that “sacrifices” would have to be made.
In a televised press conference Sir Keir criticised Mr Johnson for over-ruling Sage scientific advisers who had called for an earlier “circuit breaker”.
Sir Keir said: ‘There’s no longer time to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt. The Government’s plan simply isn’t working. Another course is needed..
“That’s why I am calling for a two-to-three week circuit break in England in line with Sage’s recommendation.
“A temporary set of clear and effective restrictions designed to get the R rate down and reverse the trend of infections and hospital admissions.”
Shadow culture minister tests positive
A Labour shadow minister is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.
Chris Matheson, the party’s culture spokesman and MP for the City of Chester, said he fell ill on Saturday.
The Netherlands will go into ‘partial lockdown’ shutting down bars, restaurants and cafes for two weeks and ban alcohol sales after 8pm as the country suffers another outbreak of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the new measures would also make the wearing of masks mandatory indoors for people aged 13 and over.