Boris Johnson returns to work


Now we begin the show here. In Britain. Boris Johnson has returned to work after recovering from cove nineteen. The British. Prime Minister's illness was severe enough to send him to intensive care for several days. A personal experience that he likes to being physically assaulted by an unexpected. An invisible mugger. Joining me now is Carol. Walker is a political analyst and former BBC political correspondent Carol. What else was Johnson keen to emphasize in his first speech since his return to work? Well I think the big point that he was making was that he was back in control fully recovered and I think he was trying very hard to convey the sense of figure and vm optimism which has always been such a big part of his character and his leadership but he also I think trod very difficult line because I think whilst he was trying to convey a sense of optimism a sense that this huge effort that everyone has put in in order to stick to those very tight restrictions at staying at home to try to prevent the spread of the corona virus. He also I think wanted to try to lower expectations about when and by how much those restrictions might be lifted so he made the point very strongly that the British people should be praised and thanked for their efforts but he was insisting that if the restrictions were lifted too soon than that would reach a second peak and that would cause further damage to people's lives but also to the economy which of course is suffering enormous damage through the lockdown. Well also joining us on the line is Lance Price. He's the former director of communications at number ten Downing Street. When Tony Blair was Prime Minister Lance? Obviously there'll be a huge amount of meetings. We know that that Cobra's already taken place with Johnson. What do you believe the government will be discussing know? What will the approach very much now looking to what Boris Johnson yesterday described the second phase of the crisis and and in many ways. That's the most difficult for ministers to deal with. We know that Boris Johnson was reluctant at the outset to impose a tough lockdown restrictions. But he saw the lights. If you like and and eventually did that. But it's it's much harder to stop to lift those restrictions and it is imposed them in the first place. Because you have to decide when and where you could modify the restrictions and that's going to be the central parts of discussion between ministers in the coming days and we're told an announcement some sort expected before the end of the week. So do you look at certain sectors of the economy that businesses? That were allowed to reopen. Or do you look at certain sectors of the population and say that's an age perhaps though geographically people can Stop to Mingle goal go out more and have more social interactions of one sort or another. I do you do that then. You have the really difficult job of selling that to the to the population at laws. Because if we're all following the same rules that's one thing if there's some rules for some people and different bills for others. It's much much harder self administered Carol. There's been a lot of criticism that the government really isn't sharing any of this information not enough information with the Public Johnson to talk about transparency. Do you think that we will begin to see more of the workings in the science that these decisions will be based on what I think? They will certainly try to make an effort to show that that is what they are doing. I think what we've seen over the last almost four weeks since Boris Johnson has been ill and recovering is the slight sense of vacuum and a government that was reluctant to show even the sorts of changes that it was thinking about for fear that the public would get carried away launch latch onto that and that the number of deaths in the number of infections would not then start to come round. It was interesting that Boris Johnson yesterday made the point that he was going to bring in the new labor leaders. A Kiss Donna and other political leaders I think that is important for the government because it wants to try to bind in potential opposition to the changes because as long says this is going to be very very difficult were already seeing a some signs of real resentment for example amongst the over seventy been told that they're going to have to be shielded that they brought to stay at home. There are of course some over seventy year olds who are incredibly. Fit Run marathons and so on and feel this all patry decision to say to older people. You are at risk you must stay at home is simply not fair and many of them we know are also missing contact with close members of their family that may be one of the areas where the government will try tentatively to try to ease the restrictions somewhat. But I think that point that Lance was making about the public is a very important one. I think the government really wants to try to take the public with it. The danger is if you start trying to say certain. Sections of the population can Now have greater freedom to do some of the things that they enjoy doing to make contact with other family members to go back to work and so on whereas other members of the population were you. Divide that by age or by geographical location cannot have those restrictions lifted lifted. I think that is very very difficult to sell. And that is why it looks to me. More likely that they will look at areas of the economy businesses. And so on and look which of those can be allowed to reopen. Whilst retaining the social distancing measures in order to try to at least contain any increase in those figures on infections sadly death lance is the opposition Labor Party under the new leadership of Sakir Stammer on the same page as the government. Well they all in the sense of backing the government's restrictions and instructions to the public but they have been putting pressure kissed on the right from day one of his leadership. Say there's been saying to the Prime Minister and two other ministers that you've got to be much more open with the public about your thinking. So he called on his first day for an exit strategy and he won't he's had the public deserve to be treated like grownups on that we should be told what the possible routes out of. This might be so that we can have a grown up discussion about that. I and I think the Labour leader has made it clear that he's going to give constructive oppositions he's not going to oppose parole position's sake but he does know that at the end of all. They are going to be very very difficult. Questions for the government to onset of ministers to answer whether it's on the provisional protective equipment so testing and all the rest of this and and he's not abdicate the role of opposition in order to get finished as a a a free ride in even in the depths of crisis A meanwhile the the daily corona virus briefings continue but with a slightly different formats. Carola government's not taking questions from the public will make a difference. Well I think this is part of that effort to try to show that they are transparent this effort to try to show that they really want to take the public along with them as this virus continues and as the restrictions look likely to continue in some form or another for many months to yesterday. We had the first of questions which are submitted by the public of course. Thousands were submitted and there was an independent polling order organization brought in to choose which question would be selected. We heard from one a citizen in skipped in Yorkshire. Who was asking when she'd be able to see her grandchildren again. And I think that although this was an important gesture towards allowing the public some sense that they're having a say in all this it has to be said that none of those present were able to give her any kind of clear ideas to win. That would happen. The scientists world saying well it slightly depends on the fingers. It's slightly depends on a when those infection rate start. Continue to come down. The government was saying well. We are looking at this in the round. We don't want to take risks with the population hancock. The Health Secretary was insisting that he didn't want to take risks with people's lives and yes I think it's important for the government to be seen to be listening to what the people are saying but the crunch point is going to come when it comes out with those decisions to what if anything is going to change and we see the response to that I mean because he made a handcart made a great point yesterday of saying that they don't see questions before they're actually asked them during the the briefing live. It would seem to me. That might make more sense for them to have an idea of what the questions were so they would have the answers. Yeah perhaps they might have been able to give linen skipped in a bit clearer answer to her question but I think they're trying to make the point that they already unprepared to take on an address any of the questions that people have now. There is a sense that this is a gesture. One question Once a day two a government minister the particularly government minister who is holding that news conference Easily of course a very limited say in what is happening. But I think this is part of them trying to show that they're open trying to demonstrate the transparency which Boris Johnson was very keen to talk about. And what you've seen is as launch was mentioning this pressure on the government to show the sorts of things it's talking about people have drawn comparisons with Nichola Sturgeon Scotland's first minister who put out a document about the government's approach. When you look through it to be perfectly honest didn't say a great deal more than the sort of information that we've got in the five tests which the government has in the covering the whole of the UK has set out which are getting guide it when it decides water win restrictions can be lifted but she had made the point of bringing out a lengthy document talking about various options. And I'm sure that that is the sort of thing that we certainly will see As we go through this we we know. Boris Johnson is chairing unimportant cabinet meeting on Thursday. We know Thursday is also very important date when the government has said that it hopes to hit one hundred thousand tests a day for frontline workers. Those are all being targeted front line workers. At the moment even yesterday was still many tens of thousands of that but I think what we get towards the end of the week the government will want to at least signal where it intends to go next in as we continue to where it tends to go next in terms of exactly which restrictions are going to be lifted. Who's going to be allowed to have those greater freedoms but I think that they will stress out all of this that if those infection rates start to climb up again then there is always the risk that the restrictions will simply have to be reimposed and overriding all of this. That is something that the government does not want to do lance just finally very quickly from you. How much other businesses being done? Brexit Brexit is still carrying on. Of course there's the real question about whether or not at the end of the period should be extended because can you deal with two major disruptions to the economy at one time but the government sticking to their line that they are going into. We'll transition has come to an end at the end of this year. Of course there is a whole boss range of other business which is still very home and sometimes the news but I wonder what would have been that bulletin. If you haven't been to the virus there's no still happening. Thanks very much. Indeed that was launched price and Carol

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