Slow Lockdown Exit ‘Hammer Blow’ to Economy: UK Conservatives

Some British lawmakers in the ruling Conservative party have criticised the government’s plan to take the country out of the ongoing CCP virus lockdown, saying its slow pace will cause unnecessary further damage to the economy.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out his “roadmap” out of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus lockdown, which includes four stages with five weeks in between.

Under the government plan, COVID-19 restrictions on social contact will not be completely removed until June 21 at the earliest.

The COVID Recovery Group (CRG), a group of lockdown-sceptical Conservative MPs who had previously demanded the government lift all restrictions by the end of April, expressed disappointment at the plan.

Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the group, said the pace of the roadmap was “a hammer blow to aviation, pubs, restaurants, hotels, gyms and pools, the arts and entertainment.”

In a video message posted on Twitter, he called for a new Public Health Act to “make sure that the harms and the benefits of government policy are properly assessed … so that never again do we impose these measures without knowing whether they’ll do more good than harm.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative party, urged the prime minister to open hospitality venues sooner.

Under the current roadmap, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open outdoors on April 12 at the earliest, and can open indoors no earlier than May 17.

Talking in the House of Commons on Monday, Duncan Smith urged Johnson to review these dates as “the hospitality sector is a very big employer of the poorest in society,” but “half of those businesses are talking about closing.”

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs, said the British government should never again be allowed to impose similar restrictions on civil rights.

Writing in The Telegraph, Brady cast doubt on the effectiveness of lockdown measures.

“It is interesting to note that the rates of infection are falling across much of the northern hemisphere with no clear correspondence to the level of freedom enjoyed by the local population,” he wrote.

“We can see that the picture in Belgium with its hard lockdowns has now converged with that in Sweden which famously took a voluntary approach. Similarly, the ‘second wave’ trajectory in Japan is remarkably similar to that of the UK.”

“Our freedoms have been taken away and they should be restored as quickly as can safely be done,” Brady said.

“This massive lurch towards state power must be reversed and it must never happen again.”