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Boris facing Tory rebellion over slow lockdown exit

24th Feb 21 11:58 am

The Prime Minister is facing a Tory rebellion from some of his backbenchers to speed up the lockdown exit, as MPs are wanting the restrictions to end sooner.

On Monday Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap to end the lockdown and said that by 21 June he hopes that England will be free of the current lockdown.

His roadmap revealed that he will cautiously ease the restrictions in four stages, and there will be at least five weeks between each of the phases.

Mark Harper who is the chair of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) said on Tuesday evening that “some serious questions arise from the assumptions on which the modelling is based” for ending lockdown rules.

Harper said that the vaccination rollout is going far better than the assumptions made in the modelling as the data shows the protections from the first and second doses is far higher.

The former chief whip said, “There is a clear and concerning pattern of assumptions not reflecting the much more positive reality.

“At the very least, this raises some serious questions about the extent to which these models should be relied on.”

Johnson is facing a Tory rebellion by some MPs when they vote on the timetable of his roadmap.

Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the CRG said earlier this week, “we need reform to drive up the standard of modelling” along with “competitive expert advice” to ensure England is not to remain in lockdown for longer than necessary.

Johnson defended the slow easing of lockdown and said that his roadmap is trying to strike a “very careful balance” to prevent a resurgence of “hospitalisations and deaths.”

He said, “I know there are some who would like to accelerate this timetable and I know of course there are others who would like to be more cautious and stay in the slow lane.

“I understand and sympathise with both of those points of view because levels of infection are still high and we must strike a very careful balance and always accept we must be humble in the face of nature.

“But also, we must accept that we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that have separated families and loved ones for too long, and threatened the livelihoods of millions, and kept pupils out of school.”

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