Tory MP lashes out at Boris Johnson for off the bus, on the bus Covid approach

Boris Johnson is being ‘put on notice by MPs’ says commentator

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Stricter measures could be imposed after Boxing Day, according to a report in The Sun newspaper, which said the contingency plan had not yet been presented to ministers. It comes after scientific advisers to the Government said hospital admissions with the variant in the UK are “probably around one-tenth of the true number” due to a lag in reporting. Tobias Ellwood has criticised Boris Johnson’s “off the bus, on the bus” approach to tackling coronavirus.

Speaking to LBC, Mr Ellwood said: “We need to improve crisis management. It’s on the bus, off the bus. The economy stops then starts again.

“We can’t continue doing that.

“We have to have greater situational awareness.

“We’re two years into this pandemic, there are another two years to go.

“We need to create a framework that allow the NHS to rest and an alternative mechanism to deal with pandemic, separate to that you then need to support the economy.

“We’re starting to do that with Rishi Sunak’s interventions.

“But ultimately it’s those in cabinet being able to express their views that No 10 has got a grasp of the situation and works with Boris Johnson’s strengths and weaknesses and we’re not acknowledging that right now.”

The “situation update” from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on Thursday was published on Saturday and said that it is “almost certain that there are now hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections per day” in England.

Sadiq Khan says that new covid restrictions are ‘inevitable’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident due to the “hugely concerning” surge in cases across the capital, as he voiced fears about staff absences in vital public services including the NHS, the fire service, and police due to infection.

Asked about a possible tightening of restrictions after Christmas, a Government spokesman said they will “continue to look closely at all data and keep our measures under review”.

The prospect of new rules comes less than a week after Boris Johnson suffered a rebellion from a large number of Conservative backbenchers who defied him to vote against the mandatory use of Covid health passes for large venues.

Brexit minister Lord Frost, who quit on Saturday, gave an indication of his belief as to the Prime Minister’s mindset, saying in his resignation letter that “we also need to learn to live with Covid and I know that is your instinct too”.

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Meanwhile, the Mirror reported that the royal family’s traditional Christmas Day walk to church might not be accessible to the public due to the pandemic.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment but it is understood Christmas plans remain under consideration.

The Sunday Telegraph reported a source as saying options include the Queen remaining at Windsor Castle.

Last week, it was confirmed the traditional pre-Christmas family party for the royals, due to be held on Tuesday, was being cancelled amid concerns it could put too many people’s festive arrangements at risk if it went ahead.

The latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency showed there had been 10,059 additional confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 reported across the UK, bringing the total confirmed cases of the variant across the four nations to 24,968.

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