Lockdown extension could lead to mass rule breaking, SAGE member warns

22 March 2021, 17:36

By Fiona Jones

SAGE member Professor Clifford Stott explains why an extension to this lockdown could lead to mass rule breaking and distrust in the Government.

His warning comes after the Government struggles to defend an expected six-month extension to lockdown powers in England amid fierce criticism.

MPs are set to approve the Coronavirus Act later this week.

A number of senior Tory MPs are among those to have voiced concerns about the legislation being renewed as the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown suggests all restrictions will be lifted by June 21.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told LBC on Monday his “default position” on the extension will be to support it.

Read more: Tory rebels challenge PM's plans to extend ‘authoritarian’ lockdown powers until October

Eddie Mair asked behavioural psychologist Professor Clifford if he predicts an extension will cause public lockdown fatigue and he refuted this: "I think the issue here is about an emotional tiredness so much as it is about the legitimacy of what's happening to us."

"So long as we can have a situation where we accept everything is being done, we can take the burden of suffering a lot longer than we could if we felt there were better ways of doing things."

Professor Clifford continued: "I think this time we're in a very difficult situation because we've been promised a one way journey out of lockdown.

"There's going to be some real struggles with legitimacy, particularly as we ebb into the summer where they feel that perhaps the promises that were made to them were no longer being kept.

"I think it might be that sense of the loss of trust in Government and the sense of illegitimacy that would emerge from that, that could be the real factor about whether or not people start to resist and start to break the guidance."

Read more: 'You're not prepared to answer': Nick Ferrari clashes with minister over lockdown power extension