'Government must grow a backbone and reverse Christmas rules,' says caller

15 December 2020, 20:54

By Fiona Jones

The Government needs to "grow a backbone" and reverse Christmas rules relaxation, this caller tells Iain Dale.

Caller Steve's comments came after Michael Gove began talks with the UK's devolved administrations over Christmas relaxation, which will continue tomorrow.

There have been rising calls for the Prime Minister to rethink the festive rules with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, cross-bench MPs and top medical journals the BMJ and HSJ all urging for household mixing to be scrapped.

Watch: Top medical journalist explains why PM must scrap Christmas rules

"Why is it we can't have a Government with a backbone that can stand by their decisions? Why do they have to release the lockdown at all?" Steve asked, "They're not there to win a popularity vote, they're there to do a job of work."

Iain countered that the Government would respond that when circumstances change, they have to change the policy.

"In a pandemic, inevitably that's going to be the case," Iain said, "we can all have our views on whether the lockdown has been tight enough or not, personally I don't think it has been, but often with the benefit of hindsight we come to those views."

Steve said this was the exact point he was trying to make: "People have not stopped dying from this disease, so why don't they just get a backbone and say as it stands, if it carries on the way that it is, the lockdown stays?"

Steve cited Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister's senior aide who drove to Durham during lockdown, and questioned why the Government "can't even obey their own rules."

"I want to spend time with my children and my grandchildren, but at the same time I don't want to put anyone in danger," Steve said, "if the Government are tough on the British public now, it means that next year there'll be more people to enjoy Christmas...and not be mourning the loss of others."