Good morning. Ministers used to say that they have been “following the science” of their response to the coronavirus pandemic. That declare is now in tatters following the publication final evening of paperwork from Sage, the federal government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, exhibiting that three weeks in the past they known as for a fortnight-long full lockdown (a “circuit breaker”) to halt the unfold of the virus. Boris Johnson rejected that recommendation. My colleague Ian Pattern has the story right here.
After all, ministers are entitled to reject scientific recommendation and very often posterity concludes that that was the best factor to do. The prime minister has to use a wider definition of the general public good (ie, together with the economic system) than Sage, which is primarily targeted on well being. There’s a robust argument that Johnson erred in March by relying an excessive amount of on Sage the recommendation. However that’s based mostly on the idea that he ought to have applied lockdown measures sooner, when Sage was arguing that it could be a mistake to hurry (due to doable compliance fatigue) and dallying with the herd immunity idea (since disowned). Now Johnson is open to the cost of over-ruling the scientists after they have been advocating extra warning. It’s a harmful place for him if all of it goes incorrect and the Sage warnings are vindicated.
This morning now we have had the primary response from a minister. Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, was doing the morning interview spherical and, when it was put to him that the federal government was ignoring Sage, he justified it on the grounds that the PM was taking a “balanced” strategy. He mentioned:
We have now to take a balanced judgment – these will not be simple selections.
However the prime minister has to stability defending folks’s lives and the NHS from the virus whereas additionally prioritising issues that matter to us as a society, like schooling and holding as many individuals in employment as doable, and likewise making certain that different well being dangers, like psychological well being and diseases, don’t get uncared for in consequence
That’s the troublesome however balanced judgment we’re taking.
Right here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly loss of life figures for England and Wales.
9.30am: Helen Whately, the care minister, and a variety of different care specialists give proof to the joint well being committee and science committee ‘coronavirus – classes learnt’ inquiry.
9.30am: The Leeds metropolis council chief, Judith Blake, holds a press convention.
12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, holds her common coronavirus briefing.
12.30pm: A Treasury minister responds to an pressing query on financial help for areas affected by native Covid restrictions.
1pm: Downing Road holds its each day foyer briefing.
1.30pm: Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, takes questions within the Senedd.
After 1.30pm: MPs start a debate on the most recent coronavirus laws. There shall be votes at 6pm.
Politics Stay has been doubling up because the UK coronavirus stay weblog for a while and, given the best way the Covid disaster eclipses the whole lot, this can proceed for the foreseeable future. However we shall be protecting non-Covid political tales too.
Right here is our international coronavirus stay weblog.
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