Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership of Britain’s ruling Tory party could be under threat if the government does not set a date to review the stringent curbs currently in place to stem the spread of the CCP virus and promise they will not be enacted again.
That’s according to Steve Baker Conservative MP and deputy chair of the COVID Recovery Group (CRG), a swathe of lockdown-skeptical Tory MPs.
“Government has adopted a strategy devoid of any commitment to liberty without any clarification about when our most basic freedoms will be restored and with no guarantee that they will never be taken away again,” Baker wrote in a letter to Conservative colleagues that was first revealed by The Sun on Thursday.
“If we continue forward with a strategy that hammers freedom, hammers the private sector, hammers small business owners, and hammers the poor, inevitably the Prime Minister’s leadership will be on the table,” Baker wrote in the letter.
However, he continued, “We strongly do not want that after all we have been through as a country.”
Baker also expressed general support for Johnson when writing on Twitter:
“I am clear Boris is the only person to lead us out of these difficulties and I support him in that endeavor,” he added.
I am clear Boris is the only person to lead us out of these difficulties and I support him in that endeavour.
— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) January 14, 2021
Nevertheless, in his letter, Baker called on Conservatives to rally their Chief Whip to get behind it after hearing from people who are “losing faith in our Conservative Party leadership because they are not standing up for our values as a party.”
“I am sorry to have to say this again and as bluntly as this: it is imperative you equip the Chief Whip today with your opinion that debate will become about the PM’s leadership if the Government does not set out a clear plan for when our full freedoms will be restored, with a guarantee that this strategy will not be used again next winter,” he wrote.
Commenting on reports that Johnson’s role as Tory party leader may be challenged over the road out of lockdown, Labour’s Deputy leader Angela Rayner said in a statement that at a time when Britain needs “a government that is committed to defeating this virus and getting Britain vaccinated,” Tories are “playing politics and fighting amongst themselves.”
‘Route Back to Freedom’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock meanwhile has resisted giving a review date for England’s stringent Stay at Home lockdown restrictions that were enacted by Johnson on Jan. 5 amid fears of the rapid spread of a variant of the CCP virus that first emerged in southeast England in September last year.
This is despite the staunch criticism that has been building from the CRG and Harper’s earlier call for “a route back to freedom” with a review of restrictions on March 8 by when 15 million people in the UK’s four top vulnerable groups will likely have gained immunity from vaccines.
The UK’s official health advisory body, Public Health England (PHE) have since re-estimated the virulence of the variant that triggered the lockdown as 30 to 50 percent more transmissible than the original strain, rather than the previously estimated 50 to 70 percent.
This followed hot on the heels of research, also from PHE, that the level of natural immunity people acquire from having caught the virus in the past is high and likely to be roughly the same as the protection they will get from vaccination against the disease.
Over two and a half million people in the UK have thus far received an initial jab of a vaccine against the government’s target of 15 million people by Feb. 15.