Labour’s plans for a temporary lockdown could see the economy and society shut down ‘multiple’ times this winter, senior figures admitted yesterday.
Sir Keir Starmer last week called on Boris Johnson to impose an immediate circuit breaker lasting for two to three weeks.
But Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green yesterday admitted that the lockdown, which would include the closure of shops, pubs and restaurants, might have to last longer than three weeks to be effective.
And the shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said the exercise might have to be repeated several times in the coming months.
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green has admitted that the lockdown might have to last longer than three weeks to be effective
Asked whether Labour accepted that the measure might be required ‘multiple’ times through the winter and spring, Miss Reeves told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘If that is what is needed then that is the approach that has to be taken, because we’ve got to get a grip on this virus.’
She added: ‘The tiered approach isn’t working. Tier Two is just a holding ground before you go into Tier Three.’
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove yesterday said he was ‘concerned’ by the admission from Miss Reeves.
Asked if some form of national clampdown was inevitable, he replied: ‘No.’
Mr Gove insisted that it made sense to take tough action in the areas of ‘highest incidence’ rather than imposing blanket national restrictions, which he said would damage the economy while providing little health benefit.
He said the idea appeared to have been presented ‘without any criteria for when we enter and when we exit’.
Miss Reeves insisted Labour was only following the advice of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which called for a two-three-week circuit breaker last month.
She added: ‘We’re doing this and we are going along with the recommendations of Sage because it is the right thing to do and now seems to us the only way to get on top of the virus.’