Boris Johnson is urged to lift Covid lockdown a month early as MPs warn we risk ‘squandering the advantages’ of vaccines rollout by delaying moves to reopen economy
- MPs warned ‘squandering advantages of vaccine programme’ by moving slowly
- String of Tory MPs ready to vote against Government’s plan to extend Covid laws
- Comes after third consecutive record day of jabs, with 844,285 on Saturday
Britain risks ‘squandering the advantages of our vaccination programme’ by moving too slowly to lift the lockdown, Conservative MPs warned yesterday.
Amid signs of a gathering rebellion, a string of MPs said they were ready to vote against the Government this week when it seeks to extend Covid laws to the end of September.
The NHS yesterday revealed a third consecutive record day of vaccinations with 844,285 on Saturday.
Tory MPs warned Britain risks ‘squandering the advantages of our vaccination programme’ by moving too slowly to lift the lockdown. Picture: Stock
A higher daily total of 873,784 was initially reported by the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who later clarified that figures from Scotland had ‘been revised down slightly’.
NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens said it equated to vaccinating ‘the entire adult populations of Liverpool, Southampton and Oxford combined’ in a single day.
In the hour between 11am and noon on Saturday, a record 27 people per second were vaccinated.
The Institute of Economic Affairs yesterday said the success of the programme meant there was now ‘a strong case’ for bringing forward Boris Johnson’s road map dates by four weeks.
A higher daily total of 873,784 was initially reported by the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who later clarified that figures from Scotland had ‘been revised down slightly’. Picture: Stock
Christopher Snowdon, an economist at the free-market think-tank, said: ‘Every extra day of lockdown produces diminishing returns and mounting costs.
‘Waiting another two months for hospitality to reopen seems excessive when people will be meeting in their homes regardless of government diktats.
‘We should keep a watchful eye on the data, but we should not stick stubbornly to an arbitrary timetable.
There is now a strong case for bringing the road map forward by four weeks.’ Former minister Steve Baker said it was time to take advantage of the benefits.
Mr Baker, deputy chairman of the 70-strong Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, told Sky News: ‘Of course the plan out of these restrictions is a path to freedom, it’s just that unfortunately many of us believe that it squanders the advantages of our great vaccination programme.’
Amid signs of a gathering rebellion, a string of MPs said they were ready to vote against the Government this week when it seeks to extend Covid laws to the end of September. Pictured: An anti-lockdown protest in London on Saturday
Windsor MP Adam Afriyie said: ‘I fear that some minds in government are focusing on arbitrary dates rather than looking at the reality of the data on hospitalisations and deaths, which is what we were told in January would determine the unlocking.’
Ministers are facing a growing rebellion ahead of Thursday’s vote to extend Covid laws for a further six months.
But one Whitehall source told the Mail that ministers may insert a review clause that could end the regulations in June to head the revolt off.
Dr Mary Ramsay, of Public Health England, yesterday warned it was ‘very important that we don’t relax too quickly’ and that face masks and forms of social distancing may stay in place ‘for a few years’.