James O'Brien caller points out flaw in the PM's back to work policy

17 July 2020, 14:22 | Updated: 17 July 2020, 14:26

By Fiona Jones

This caller points out a flaw in the Prime Minister's back to work policy - James O'Brien even gives her a round of applause for her observation.

Speaking from Number 10, Boris Johnson said he hoped for a return to "normality" in time for Christmas as he unveiled changes to the government's stance on working from home.

From August 1, people in England should return to work "if it is safe" and "provided employers have done the work they should have done to make their work places Covid-secure." He said it was not for the Government to tell employers if staff should return to their workplaces.

Caller Pat pointed out to James O'Brien that her son, a teacher, is in a predicament after the back to work briefing.

"If their employer, the school, tells them they shouldn't come into work because they can't work in a safe and Covid-secure way, then he doesn't have to go into work.

"But the government is saying in September all the schools have got to go back," Pat said.

James processed this and realised Pat had "done it": "It's up to the employers whether or not work is safe or not unless you're a head teacher."

"And how can you work in a safe and Covid-secure way when there's going to be no social distancing?" asked Pat.

James surmised, "So the one place where it's going to be hardest to observe is the workplace where Boris Johnson is saying you've got to open up whether you want to or not. But all the other employees are being told it's up to your employer whether you open up or not."

James said that "Pat wins Friday" and gave her a much coveted Mystery Hour round of applause for her observation.