Hopes that Britain will never again be plunged into lockdown as Cabinet minister suggests Covid curbs were ‘too hard’


THE INQUIRY into Britain’s handling of the Covid pandemic should look at whether lockdown restrictions were too harsh, a Cabinet minister has said.

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said this year’s upcoming review of the Government’s pandemic response must consider the wider impact of curbs.

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg

His remarks will boost hopes that the UK will never again be plunged into a full lockdown of the type suffered in 2020 and last year.

Some scientists have also suggested that the Omicron wave could lead to a new phase in the fight against Covid with fewer restrictions on our daily lives.

Mr Rees-Mogg was addressing parliament a day after Boris Johnson was forced to admit to angry MPs that he attended a lockdown-busting No 10 party.

The PM is clinging onto his job amid widespread anger that Downing St staff flouted Covid rules at a string of bashes during both lockdowns.

Updating parliament today, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The Prime Minister came here yesterday and apologised.

“He said that, with hindsight, it was not what should have happened or what he would have wanted to happen.

“It is being investigated by Sue Gray, a civil servant of the highest integrity and of the greatest reputation.

“But I think everybody understands on all sides of the House that people were obeying the rules, and that these rules were very hard for people to obey.”

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The Commons leader referred to a message from a friend of his who could not attend the funeral of his two-year-old granddaughter.

He added: “Now, one cannot hear these stories without grieving for people who suffered.

“Decisions were taken at the beginning of the pandemic, that affected people up and down the country and they were very hard.

“We must consider as this goes to an inquiry and we look into what happened with Covid whether all those regulations were proportionate, or whether it was too hard on people

“Because I think as we hear these stories, we inevitably grieve for those who suffered, those who could not visit people that they love, their family and could not attend funerals.”

Plan B hope

The PM wants to start lifting Plan B restrictions in England later this month thanks to the fantastic success of the vaccine rollout.

Hospitals appear to be coping better with Omicron patients than first feared amid evidence the variant is much milder.

Omicron is also 90 per cent less severe for Brits who have got their boosters.

HOAR’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

The encouraging data has triggered demands for Boris Johnson to throw off remaining Covid curbs like mandatory masks and working from home.