Maajid Nawaz hits out at plans for second national lockdown

31 October 2020, 14:54

By Seán Hickey

This is the moment that Maajid Nawaz picked apart the prospect of a second lockdown and wondered if the Government could adopt a different approach to coronavirus.

Following a leak from Number 10 which revealed discussions on whether England should be placed in a month-long lockdown to "save Christmas," Boris Johnson is set to address the nation on the details on Saturday afternoon.

Amid rumour and predictions, Maajid Nawaz took a different approach to the news: "Pray tell, do you have an economic plan you can present to parliament and a new furlough scheme that will help people get through this for a month?"

Maajid directed his questioning to the PM: "How will you repeat the furlough scheme that cost us so much the first time around when your own chancellor tells us we cannot afford to do that again?"

He wondered "is there a way to build more capacity without destroying the economy?" Maajid noted that during the first wave many Nightingale hospitals across the nation never reached capacity.

Boris Johnson is set to outline a lockdown plan this evening
Boris Johnson is set to outline a lockdown plan this evening. Picture: PA

He suggested that Government consider training up extra staff to work in Nightingale hospitals in an effort to avoid a national lockdown and just increase NHS capacity, which was admittedly the issue the first time out.

"If you want to change the goalposts and tell us it's no longer about capacity, then tell us what it is about," Maajid said, cornering the topic.

"Nobody ever on any side of the debate has claimed lockdown kills the virus. We understand if you say lockdown is about NHS capacity, I get that."

"My follow up question to you would be," Maajid said, "do we have Nightingale capacity, if we do, let's resurrect them."

"Wouldn't that cost us less than millions and millions a day in a national lockdown with the job losses that come with it and the subsequent instability," he wondered.

"What really is going on? Does anybody really understand?"

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