‘WE WILL be reaching out to build the biggest possible consensus,’ Tory PM Johnson said yesterday morning, ‘across business, across industry, across all parts of our United Kingdom, across party lines, bringing in opposition parties, as far as we possible can.’
After Johnson’s speech, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed that he is due to speak to Labour leader Keir Starmer this week about the coronavirus crisis.
The spokesman said that this would follow Johnson’s declaration yesterday that he wants to work with the opposition parties on policies to relax the lockdown.
Over the weekend it emerged that Tory advisor Dominic Cummings was sitting on the supposedly independent SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) which gives scientific advice on when to relax the lockdown.
Attempting to address this scandal Johnson said: ‘I want to serve notice now that these decisions will be made with the maximum possible transparency.’
He went on to claim: ‘And I want to share all our working, my thinking with you, the British people. Of course we will be relying, as ever, on the scientific advice as we have from the beginning.’
He said there were ‘real signs now that we are passing through the peak’ – including with fewer hospital admissions and fewer Covid-19 patients in intensive care.
However, he insisted the lockdown will remain and the population must remain at home.
‘And so it follows that this is the moment of opportunity, this is the moment when we can press home our advantage, it is also the moment of maximum risk.
‘I know there will be many people looking at our apparent success, and beginning to wonder whether now is the time to go easy on those social distancing measures.’
He went on: ‘We must recognise the risk of a second spike, the risk of losing control of the virus … I can but I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life and the overwhelming of the NHS. I ask you to contain your impatience.’
A number of leading Tories are continuing to demand that the lockdown is brought to an end so that capitalism can continue doing business.
Previous leader of the Tory Party Ian Duncan-Smith said: ‘There is a point at which continuing the lockdown becomes more dangerous for the economy than it is for the population, and it is at this point where we have to begin to ease the lockdown.
‘This is the critical bit, the balance point between getting Covid down under control and still having an economy. The balance point is going to be an enormous judgement call.’