Eddie Mair confronts Tory MP over lockdown extension announcement

14 June 2021, 19:53

By Fiona Jones

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the four-week extension to lockdown to the media before informing ministers. Eddie Mair confronts Tory MP Sir John Redwood over the Government "breaking the ministerial code."

Boris Johnson has announced a four-week delay to the "Freedom Day" lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

The current Covid-19 restrictions in England will remain in place until July 19, the Prime Minister confirmed, as the Delta variant found originally in India is on the rise.

His decision to announce this first to the media instead of ministers has broken the ministerial code and incited anger in the Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, who accused Number 10 of "running roughshod" over the rules.

Read more: LIVE: Protesters chant "shame on you" as PM delays 'Freedom Day' by a month

"I'm sure the Government will announce them to the House of Commons," Sir John Redwood told Eddie, "I'm sure there's going to be a statement tomorrow."

Eddie countered: "Doesn't the ministerial code demand that it happens first in the House of Commons?"

"Obviously that would be nicer," Sir John responded.

Eddie asked: "Well it's the ministerial code or are you with some members of the Government and you don't believe that counts for much anymore?"

Sir John Redwood replied: "I think it's better if the Government makes the announcement first to the House of Commons, but the House of Commons will be all over this, I can assure you.

There are plenty of opportunities in the House of Commons for backbenchers of all parties and above all for the official oppositions to table questions, to require debates, or to introduce it into things that are already scheduled because it has an impact on all sorts of things that we're discussing."

ANALYSIS: Analysis: 'Freedom Day' delay was 'inevitable' - but who is to blame?