Lockdown is taking its toll on British society, from families in the home to businesses on the high street. The UK public seems to be itching for some movement and politicians are sensing the restlessness. Warnings of patience wearing thin are now reaching the inner sanctum of government.
Influential backbench Conservative MPs, including senior figures from the 1922 Committee, are urging the government to relax the lockdown or put at risk the existence of tens of thousands of businesses.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who is Treasurer of the Committee, and its Vice-Chairman Sir Charles Walker, have both gone on the record to voice their concerns.
Clifton-Brown, MP for The Cotswolds, told The Times that a gradual process of easing restrictions over the next three weeks will inevitably lead to more coronavirus cases, confirming his view that ”…we just have to accept that”,adding that “if we keep the lockdown going it will be much more difficult for the economy to recover. Unless we do something fairly soon the economy is going to take a real hit.”
Knight of the realm in arms Charles Walker agreed, confirming that he was dealing with hundreds of businesses in his Broxbourne constituency that are fearing for their future. “If we don’t do this (ease the restrictions) many good and strong businesses will not open their doors again and the consequences for millions of people will be potentially devastating.”
As Scotland’s premier Nicola Sturgeon outflanked Westminster with the publication of a 26-page ‘framework’ for easing the lockdown north of the border,the calls for a grown-up conversation with the electorate grew louder. Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said:“The government needs now to explain to the British public that they are planning for the time when we come out of lockdown.”David Davis, the former Brexit secretary and another Tory grandee, added: “Given we want to maximise the amount of relaxation we do while minimising the number of deaths, a conversation about what can and can’t be done is entirely sensible. It’s a good indicator of the way we should go in the next few weeks.”