A ‘fudge’ and ‘reckless’ - South Tyneside’s MPs have their say as Plan B Covid rules are scrapped

Concerns have been raised about Boris Johnson’s decision to end Plan B restrictions for managing the coronavirus pandemic while case rates remain high in the North East.

By James Harrison
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 5:23 pm

The announcement was made as Number 10 faced continued anger of claims of lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and growing speculation that Boris Johnson faces an imminent leadership challenge.

And his latest statement to the House of Commons has prompted claims from Jarrow MP Kate Osborne that it was a cynical attempt to shift focus away from negative headlines.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference after cases of the new Covid-19 variant were confirmed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2021 in London, England. UK authorities confirmed today that two cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, which had prompted a flurry of travel bans affecting several countries in Southern Africa, were found in the UK. (Photo by Jeff Gilbert - Pool/Getty Images)

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She said: “I am particularly concerned for clinically vulnerable people across our communities who will become even more at risk when restrictions are eased.

“We know that symptoms of this strain seem to be mild, but deliberately allowing it to spread like wildfire across the country is reckless and will put unnecessary pressure on our NHS and those who provide essential services across our region.

“Boris Johnson shouldn’t be using a public health crisis to try and distract from his abysmal leadership.”

While face coverings will no longer be mandatory in England from next week, they will still be recommended for “enclosed or crowded spaces”.

Work-from-home guidance has also been dropped, while the NHS Covid pass scheme will now be voluntary for those organisations and venues which want to stick with it - a move described as a “fudge” by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

She added: “As usual, Boris has made an announcement with a lot of grey areas - he’s not being clear and this is all about trying to get support back from his backbenches.

“If you talk to anyone who works [in industries where Covid passes] have been introduced, they just want clear guidance, otherwise it just puts the pressure on them.”

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