Instant reaction: Former advisor to No.10 on government press conference

21 March 2020, 15:46

By Seán Hickey

In the inaugural weekend coronavirus press conference, Environment Secretary George Eustice quashed the possibility of rationing and urged the public to stop panic buying.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director flanked Mr. Eustice in Downing Street and announced that people should be ashamed of themselves for stock piling, referencing the plight of NHS workers and the elderly in finding empty shelves when arriving in supermarkets.

All of the major retailers are working together to come up with possible item limits according to George Eustice. He assured the public in his announcement today that the government would not be imposing rationing, but retailers will have the freedom to have limits on certain items of stock.

Minister Eustice also noted that yesterday's decision to close pubs and restaurants leaves surplus in delivery services, suggesting that there may be a faster response to empty shelves across the country.

Maajid Nawaz was joined in studio by Tom Swarbrick, LBC presenter and former advisor to Theresa May when she was the UK Prime Minister. Tom was giving his reaction to the Environment Secretary George Eustice's comments that the public should stop panic buying and reassured Brits that supply chains in the retail sector have increased production by 15% in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Instant reaction: Former advisor to No.10 on government press conference
Instant reaction: Former advisor to No.10 on government press conference. Picture: PA

Tom Swarbrick was encouraging of the news coming from No.10 and welcomed the speech of the Environment Secretary.

While encouraged by the points made by Mr. Eustice, Tom felt that instead of focusing on whether or not shops will have item limits, the public should be more concerned about hwo social distancing hasn't been practiced in most supermarkets in the UK.

Tom told Maajid that supermarkets might have to start imposing maximum numbers in shops to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Maajid moved on from the immediate and wanted the opinion of Tom, former media advisor to PM Theresa May, on the government's attitude towards communications in this time.

"You could cut them some slack" Tom pointed out. He believed that Boris Johnson's senior advisor Dominic Cummings has done a good job in messaging for the PM in this scenario and should be applauded

Tom pointed out to Maajid that the fact that the PM is flanked by two scientists is a strong message, and should be seen as such.

You can listen to the conversation between Maajid and Tom above.