Global Lockdowns Will Be Seen as a ‘Huge Public Policy Error’: Former Brexit Minister

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
January 13, 2022 Updated: January 13, 2022

The world will look back at the CCP virus restrictions and see it as a “huge public policy error,” The UK’s Lord David Frost said on Thursday.

The former Brexit minister resigned from the Cabinet on Dec. 18, citing disagreements with the government’s stance on lockdown restrictions, taxation, and regulation.

During an interview on The Telegraph’s “Planet Normal” Podcast on Thursday, Frost said he believes the lockdowns are “inhuman,” and the recent CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus restrictions are what took him out of the government in December.

“I didn’t agree with the plan B measures—masks, vaccine passports—that’s what forced me out,” he said.

The former Cabinet minister said policies such as vaccine passports and mask mandates are “COVID theater” rather than effective measures to control the disease, and urged the government to focus on what he said does work, such as “ventilation, antivirals, [and] proper hospital capacity. Managing your property—that’s what we need to be focusing on going forward.”

Frost credited Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “instincts for freedom” for England’s “slightly less bad form” of lockdown than many other countries, but said he believes the world, looking at the restrictions in hindsight, will see it as a “huge public policy error.”

While there has always been some opposition to the lockdowns across the political class in the UK, Frost said, the way “civil society has echoed messages of the government … the sort of Warden Hodges figure from Dad’s Army has become a kind of a thing again, rather than a figure of fun,” has been “quite surprising” and “worrying” to him.

Frost blamed the situation partly on “the way speech on social media has been policed,” and people’s “limited” willingness to consider new evidence in the CCP virus debate.

Asked if he agreed with the “Great Barrington Declaration“—a proposal by three top epidemiologists in late 2020 to focus on protecting the vulnerable while letting the rest of the population go about their normal lives and built up natural immunity—Frost said he’s not particularly an advocate for the proposal as opposed to other things, but one of the first things that began to trouble him was the way the Great Barrington declaration was dismissed.

“You know, [the proposal was dismissed] as kind of: ‘It’s unreasonable to talk like this. These people don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s unreasonable, it’s wrong.’ And that to me was the first sign that something was going wrong in the normal give and take on public debate in this question,” he said.

Frost said the other reasons why lockdowns were adopted include the ambiguity of “some basic facts” and the lack of balancing against the epidemiologists’ advice.

“I think it is surprisingly hard to get hard information about some basic facts,” Frost said.

While acknowledging that some data are publicly available, Frost said, “What’s the case fatality rate? You know, there’s a wide number of views on that. That is a controversial figure. What is the effectiveness of vaccines? How much do they reduce transmission? … It’s hard to get an objective view on that. How effective are masks? Again, these are political questions, not an objective one.”

Frost said he believes the government was “a bit at fault” in acting like a “cheerleader and encouraging others to be cheerleaders” instead of “acknowledging contrary evidence” and “putting out the best information it’s got and allowing people to make their own minds up about it.”

“Voices challenging the epidemiologists” have also been lacking, Frost said, including “a voice of the economy in this and an attempt to get to grips with trade-offs.”

Frost said he saw Johnson “groping for that information” which wasn’t there, and that he believes Johnson hasn’t “necessarily been well served by everybody around him” in developing a mechanism to achieve the balance.

Speaking of the current situation in the UK, Frost said what worries him is that the debate seemed to be leaning towards fewer restrictions because the Omicron variant is mild.

“Do we go back to lockdowns if the next one is more dangerous? I would like to see the government ruling out lockdowns for the future, repealing the legislation, ending them,” Frost said, adding that the policy is costly and ineffective.

In an email to The Epoch Times, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “Plan B measures were proportionate and responsible to slow down the spread of the Omicron variant, protect the NHS, and buy us time to get more boosters into arms.

“As the prime minister has said, the government does not believe we need to shut down our country again. Instead, we are taking a balanced approach, using the protection of the boosters and the Plan B measures to reduce the spread of the virus.”

The current measures are due to expire on Jan. 26, the government said it will continue to monitor the data on a daily basis and review the measures accordingly.

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.