Boris Johnson 'has shown fantastic leadership' during pandemic, ex-Tory minister insists

7 August 2021, 13:15

By Seán Hickey

The former Tory Minister defended the PM's decision to avoid isolation after a staffer tested positive for Covid-19.

Boris Johnson came under fire after it was revealed he continued a tour of Scotland after a staffer tested positive for Covid-19.

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"The question is whether he was in close contact with this member of staff or not and there seems to be a lot of doubt about that," Sir Gerald Howarth told Andrew Castle.

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He worried that the PM's actions may be the latest instalment in "the public perception that there's one rule for our leaders and another rule for the rest of us," but believed such exemptions need to be allowed more generally in future.

"There are many other people who are in need of going about very important business and they are people that are generating wealth for the country" he argued.

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"It seems to me that we're failing to take advantage of the fantastic job the Prime Minister's done in showing leadership."

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He referenced the vaccine procurement and rollout during the pandemic as examples of "the leadership the Prime Minister has shown in the first place."

Sir Gerald told Andrew that "we've got to learn to live with this virus," and Boris Johnson is leading by that example.

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"There's slightly confusing messaging here" Andrew interjected. He put to Sir Gerald that "the whole thing's now falling apart, isn't it?"

"To a certain extent I agree with you" the former Minister for International Security Strategy confirmed, adding that "there has to be greater clarity," in future.

He suggested that going forward, "if you are pinged but you feel fine and you've had the double dose, you carry on and just exercise a bit of caution."

"We've got to let people get back to normal," the former Tory MP concluded.