Boris Johnson braced for backlash over expected June 21 delay

Jun 14, 2021
Boris Johnson braced for backlash over expected June 21 delay

Boris Johnson returns to Downing Street after his Monday morning run – Nigel Howard Media

Boris Johnson is on a collision course with his backbenchers today, as the Prime Minister prepares to delay his roadmap for a month.

The much-heralded ‘freedom day’ scheduled for June 21 is now due to be pushed back until July 19, with health minister Edward Argar telling the BBC this would allow authorities time to “close the gap” in the number of adults who have had their second jab.

Conservative MPs are pushing back strongly on this last-minute extension of the lockdown, with some threatening to rebel amid fears it is the thin end of the wedge.

Stephen Hammond said it was “extraordinary that we have more restrictions in place now than when we did not have the vaccine”.

He called for a weekly assessment of delays based on hospitalisation rates and “a pledge to reconsider all travel restrictions” on June 28, with those who have been double vaccinated/clear test being allowed to travel.

“We are being told the vaccine is effective, anything but a short delay undermines our confidence in that message.”

Caroline Nokes said clarity on the number of people double jabbed was “what has been lacking all along – what’s the equation.”

She added: “In my constituency, over 95 per cent of the top nine have had both jabs. We have protected the vulnerable so the NHS is at low risk of being overwhelmed by Covid patients. But treat us like grown ups, let us know what an ok level of risk is, because if it’s zero, we will never get there.”

Damian Green on Sunday night told the BBC any delay should be accompanied by “a break clause after two or maybe three weeks” based on hospital rates.

One former minister said there was “massive upset” about it, adding: “Freedom day seems to be like dance of the seven veils. Sadly Salome gets killed in the end.”

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