PM JOHNSON and Chancellor Sunak were forced into a humiliating u-turn yesterday morning, having initially sought to avoid self-isolating after having been ‘pinged’ following their Downing St meeting with Covid-positive Health Secretary Javid last Friday.
At 8.30am on Sky News, Trevor Phillips said: ‘We have just received a Downing Street statement saying: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor will be participating in a daily contact tracing pilot to allow them to continue work from Downing Street”.’
Phillips asked Tory Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick: ‘When the Prime Minister talked about freedom day, did he actually mean freedom for him and the Chancellor and other Cabinet colleagues and not for the pinged who would prefer to go to work but would not have access to that pilot?’
Jenrick replied: ‘This is a pilot that is being piloted by around 20 organisations within the public sector, including Border Force, including Transport for London It’s correct that Downing Street and the Cabinet Office are part of the pilot.’
An increasingly incredulous Phillips said: ‘You can see what it looks like, it looks like “One rule for them and one rule for the rest of us”.’
Phillips’ next guest, Labour Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth commented: ‘I think there will be parents across the country who have struggled this past year when their children have been sent home because they were in a bubble and they had to isolate.
‘There will be workers across the country who had to isolate when pinged including in public services like the NHS.
‘I think for many of them waking up this morning to hear that there is a special, exclusive rule for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, they will be saying to themselves that this looks like one rule for them and something else for the rest of us. Nobody understands how you can get access to this special VIP lane where you don’t have to isolate yourself.’
It was then reported that ‘One rule for them’ was trending widely on social media.
At 10.30am Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted: ‘Whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong. To that end I’ll be self isolating as normal and not taking part in the pilot.’
Johnson issued a similar statement, saying he would be staying in his country residence, Chequers.
Then yesterday afternoon at 3.30pm, Johnson appeared on TV to say: ‘Hi folks, like so many other people across the country, I’ve been pinged. We did look briefly at taking part in the pilot scheme. But we thought it best not to. So I’m going to be self-isolating until Monday 26th July.’