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Sajid Javid to make statement on remaining Covid restrictions
28 June 2021, 05:53 | Updated: 28 June 2021, 06:50
Sajid Javid is expected to make his first statement in the Commons since becoming Health Secretary, with some MPs hoping he will aim for a quick lifting of Covid restrictions.
Lockdown-sceptic lawmakers would like him to depart from predecessor Matt Hancock's approach, and Mr Javid has said his "immediate priority" it to "see that we can return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible".
He is not expected to lift remaining restrictions ahead of the delayed "Freedom Day" on July 19 but is reported to be confident measures will not be extended past that date.
"I was honoured to take up this position. I also know that it comes with huge responsibility and I will do everything I can to make sure I deliver for the people of this great country," Mr Javid has said.
"We are still in a pandemic and I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible. That will be my most immediate priority, to see that we can return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible."
Asked on Sunday whether Labour would back a change of approach under a new Health Secretary, leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "What we've seen today already I'm afraid is confusion, because the incoming Health Secretary said he wants to open up as quickly as possible. The Government's now rowed back on that."
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Contrasting Mr Javid's comments to journalists with a similar statement issued in his name by the Department of Health and Social Care, but omitting the "as soon and as quickly as possible" clause, Sir Keir said: "I don't think it's inspired confidence that already in day one, there's been the Health Secretary saying his position this morning and then the Government rowing back on it."
Mr Javid said he is aware the job comes with "huge responsibility" and besides lockdown's easing he will have to deal with upcoming NHS reforms, a backlog in patient treatment, issues related to medical worker burnout and a long-anticipated social care plan.
He returns to the Cabinet after Mr Hancock eventually resigned following the leak footage of him kissing his aide.