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27 April 2020

Boris Johnson’s statement shows the UK will be in lockdown for a long time yet

The Prime Minister has sided with those cabinet ministers who fear a second wave of Covid-19 infections. 

By Stephen Bush

Boris Johnson has returned to work, delivering a statement outside Downing Street on the way forward.

During Johnson’s recovery, the government unveiled five tests for when measures could begin to be eased – but, as I explained at the time, those tests can only be met via a vaccine and suggest that the United Kingdom will be in lockdown for an extended period.

What wasn’t clear was whether those tests were a genuine insight into government policy, or were designed to remain unmet until the Prime Minister was well and able to adjudicate between a cabinet and a Conservative Party that are divided on whether and how to ease the lockdown. 

In his statement, Johnson did two important things. The first was that he came down on the side of those in cabinet and in his party arguing about the importance of avoiding a second wave. The second was that he pledged to include the opposition parties as much as possible in the debate over what comes next. Both remarks point in the same direction: that we will be living in a state like this for some time.

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