Ian Payne 7am - 10am
Boris Johnson warns freedom 'depends on things going right' ahead of lockdown easing
27 March 2021, 13:33 | Updated: 27 March 2021, 14:26
The Prime Minister has said the roadmap out of lockdown is on schedule, but warned future freedoms "depends on things going right".
Speaking at the Conservative Party Spring Conference, held virtually this year, Boris Johnson said there was currently no data which could dissuade him from the current roadmap, which would lift the majority of measure on June 21.
Monday will see the next raft of lockdown easing, with the "rule of six" returning, allowing up to six people from up to two households to meet up outside to socialise.
It will be April 12 when shops are allowed to open once again, and pubs will be able to serve people outside.
Mr Johnson said he would be among those attending their local pub for a pint - and getting a much-needed haircut.
"In just a few days' time I'm finally going to be able to go to the barbers, but more important than that I'm going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly I'm going to drink a pint in the pub.
"And as things stand I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our roadmap to freedom.
"Unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love. Of course there are plenty of risks and I've got to be honest about the difficulties ahead, we are in a different world from last Spring."
He added that discovering the Kent variant of Covid-19 - also known as B117 - led to the tiering system of restrictions to be dropped.
Mr Johnson said: "That was an incredibly important moment, because we were then able to work out what was happening, because we could see that B117 was basically transmitting considerably faster.
"With that we were able to understand why the tiering system that had been basically working for much of the autumn just wasn't going to work anymore."
The Prime Minister said there are still unanswered questions about what impact the third coronavirus wave sweeping Europe would have on the UK.
Speaking at the Conservatives' virtual spring forum, Boris Johnson said: "I think the second half of the year will have the potential to be really fantastic.
"But it depends on things still going right.
"We depend on the successful vaccine programme and disease not taking off again."
He said "bitter experience" has shown a wave like the one in Europe would hit the UK "three weeks later".
He added: "The question is - is it going to be, this time, as bad it has been in the past? Or have we sufficiently mitigated, muffled, blunted impact by the vaccine rollout?
"That's a question we still don't really know the answer to."
More to follow...