MPs lead furious backlash over proposed four-week delay to June 21 lockdown easing

14 June 2021, 12:43 | Updated: 14 June 2021, 15:01

Anger is growing amongst Tory MPs over a proposed four-week delay to the June 21 lockdown easing.
Anger is growing amongst Tory MPs over a proposed four-week delay to the June 21 lockdown easing. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Anger is growing amongst Tory MPs over a proposed four-week delay to the June 21 lockdown easing.

Boris Johnson is due to make an announcement later this evening on whether the lockdown easing can go ahead as planned on June 21.

But there are doubts that restrictions will be lifted due to the Delta variant spreading throughout the country.

Mr Johnson is facing a Conservative backbench rebellion over his plans. He is expected to announce to the nation at 6pm today that the road map easing planned for next Monday will be pushed back by four weeks.

Tory MP Philip Davies blasted the plans, saying he was "frustrated beyond belief" at the news.

Read more: Lockdown easing - What time is Boris Johnson's announcement today?

He told the Telegraph and Argus it was an "unjustified assault on our freedoms and are doing untold damage to many businesses and people’s livelihoods."

He added: “The Government should trust in its vaccination programme which has massively reduced the number of deaths and hospitalisations.

"What is the point in having the best vaccine programme in the world if we are still going to be forced into keeping to these restrictions even when deaths and hospitalisations are lower than anyone expected them to be?"

Steve Baker, the CRG deputy chairman, has also been critical and asked how the nation can "fumble along" with the "devastating consequences" and extension to the lockdown will have.

Steve Baker, the CRG deputy chairman, has been critical and asked how the nation can "fumble along"
Steve Baker, the CRG deputy chairman, has been critical and asked how the nation can "fumble along". Picture: PA

Tory backbench MP Marcus Fysh has also said delay is a "disastrous and unacceptable policy".

Earlier on Monday Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer blamed the Government's "pathetic" border policies as being the likely reason for an expected delay to the lifting of lockdown.

Speaking during his monthly Call Keir with Nick Ferrari, the Labour leader said: "June 21st was supposed to be freedom day and why are we not going to hit it, and it looks like we're not?

"Answer: It's because of the Government's pathetic borders policy. Absolutely pathetic."

Tory MP Philip Davies blasted the plans, saying he was "frustrated beyond belief" at the news
Tory MP Philip Davies blasted the plans, saying he was "frustrated beyond belief" at the news. Picture: PA

Theatre impresario Sir Howard Panter, co-founder of theatre operator Trafalgar Entertainment, said the industry will suffer "significant damage" if the final lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England is put on hold.

He said: "The reality is we have marched the troops up the hill. We have mobilised a whole industry in order to get going because we have been keeping the industry going for the last 15 months.

"It costs money. We haven't had Government help. We have kept it going. And now, surprise, surprise, the industry needs some income. People need work.

"Thousands of people have been mobilised in order to work in the theatre industry, to start work from next Monday and now we are being told, apparently, 'Oh no, it's not that date. It may be some other date, we don't really know'."

He said he is clear about the "significant damage to the theatre industry and all related industries".