Three questions Boris Johnson hasn’t answered about lockdown rules

Since announcing a partial lifting of the coronavirus lockdown on Sunday, Boris Johnson has been criticised for a lack of clarity in the government’s message.

It was something Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sought to exploit when the pair came face-to-face in the Commons on Monday afternoon – but not all of his points were addressed.

Here are three of Starmer’s questions the prime minister didn’t answer.

1. The PM was asked what ‘scientific evidence’ informed the new measures such as meeting a friend from a different household outdoors

The prime minister did not say what evidence was used.

He only said: “The steps we are taking today are modest steps entirely governed by the science. We hope we may be in a position to take further steps in the next few weeks.”

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In its COVID-19 recovery strategy, the government said all decisions are “informed by the science”.

“The government will continue to be guided by the best scientific and medical advice to ensure that it does the right thing at the right time,” it said.

2. The PM was asked about his plan to quarantine people after arriving in the country by air from abroad

Starmer asked why the measure was being announced now rather than earlier in the lockdown, when it will be introduced and whether it includes all ports, for example ferry ports.

Johnson did not address the question whatsoever.

3. The PM was asked about safety guidelines for workplaces and public transport

With people encouraged to return to work on Wednesday if they can’t do their job from home, the Labour leader asked when safety guidelines would be in place.

Johnson addressed this directly: “We will be publishing the guidelines on places of employment tonight, transport will be out tomorrow.”

However, Starmer also asked if the two sets of guidelines would apply in England only, and whether they had been produced in consultation with employers/transport providers and trade unions.

Johnson did not address these questions.

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer clashed in the Commons on Monday. (PA)
Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer clashed in the Commons on Monday. (PA)

4. The PM’s defence

After his response to Starmer, Johnson launched into a defence of the government’s approach to the lockdown.

“Everybody understands what we are trying to do together,” he said. “That is working together as a country to obey the social distancing rules… and to apply common sense in the application of those rules.

“I have huge admiration for the way the police have enforced them so far, and I know the British public is going to continue to help the police and everybody to enforce those rules to get our reproduction rate down [and] to get this disease even further under control by continuing to apply good solid British common sense.

“It’s worked throughout phase one and I have no doubt it’s going to work in the second phase of the fight against the disease as well.”

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