Boris Johnson on the spot as Eustice challenged over ‘laughable’ COVID-19 restrictions

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Boris Johnson has been facing widespread criticism since he announced at the end of October that England would need to be placed under a second lockdown. The Government has maintained the restrictions will help public health officials take back control of the coronavirus pandemic by curbing the infection rate through social distancing. But LBC host Nick Ferrari pointed out crucial inconsistencies had emerged over the type of contact people can still have despite the new lockdown.

Mr Ferrari said: “Let’s come to some of the guidance which England is now having to live with.

“How come someone can sleep with their wife or husband but not play tennis with them?”

The radio host continued: “Don’t you think it’s laughable. It’s laughable, isn’t it?

“If I had a wife, I could go for a walk with her but I can’t play golf with her. I can sleep with her but I can’t play tennis with her.

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“And you wonder why some people look at these instructions and think they’ve been dreamt up by primary school children.”

Mr Eustice defended the restrictions, insisting the “extraordinary nature” of the pandemic had forced the Government into adopting emergency policies bound to show some inconsistencies.

He said: “Look, when you have to bring in the types of measures that we are, both during the first lockdown and since, there will be some inconsistencies.

“My point is that when you do emergency interventions, which is what we’re doing, these are extraordinary powers that place restrictions on people’s liberties.

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We understand that they’re time-limited powers. The objective in doing this is to reduce the overall infection rate, to reduce the amount of contact people have.”

The Environment Secretary continued: “And when you design rules to do this, of course, there will be inconsistencies, there’s bound to be because there’s an extraordinary nature to these measures.

“And you shouldn’t pick out one and say that’s inconsistent with another.

“What you should say is that, overall, the measures that we’ve been putting in place will reduce social contact and therefore will slow the spread of the virus and that’s the aim.”

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The new lockdown came into effect a little over two weeks after the Government implemented its controversial three-tier system.

The second round of restrictions is due to be reviewed on December 2 but the Prime Minister has already been warned he faces a major rebellion should the lockdown be extended further.

The chair of the influential 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, refused calls to back the Government and warned more and more colleagues would be ready to go against the Prime Minister in the event of a third lockdown.

Sir Graham said: “Some of us voted against lockdown but my sense is that far more would make a stand if a third lockdown were to be contemplated.”

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