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Sunday, 26 April 2020

British PM Boris Johnson returning to work to face pressure over lifting corona virus lockdown measures

Boris Johnson will return to work on Monday under pressure from the Labour leader and Conservative donors over lifting coronavirus lockdown measures.

The prime minister, who was treated in intensive care after contracting COVID-19, will be back in Downing Street just over a fortnight after leaving hospital.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has stepped up pressure on the government to set out an "exit strategy" for lifting lockdown measures that were put in place on 23 March to slow the spread of coronavirus.
His intervention comes as a series of Conservative backers, who have donated millions of pounds to the party, have urged the government to begin loosening the restrictions to allow the economy to start up again.
The British retail industry's lobby group and its main trade union has issued new guidance to retailers in preparation for an anticipated easing of measures and the reopening of more stores.
In his call for an exit strategy, Sir Keir said in a letter to Mr Johnson that it was essential ministers learned lessons from mistakes that have been made in dealing with the crisis so far.

He added that the UK is in danger of falling behind other countries, as well devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, which were already engaged in "adult" conversations with their citizens as to how the restrictions could be eased.
Ministers have so far resisted calls for an exit strategy, arguing it risks undermining their central message that people need to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
However, Sir Keir's letter echoes concerns expressed by some senior Conservatives alarmed at the mounting damage to the economy being caused by the lockdown.
The Labour leader said any exit strategy would only be effective if the government puts the necessary planning, investment and infrastructure in place early.
He wrote: "Simply acting as if this discussion is not happening is not credible, especially when other governments and our own devolved administrations have been able to communicate so much more.
"The British public have made great sacrifices to make the lockdown work. They deserve to be part of an adult conversation about what comes next. If we want to take people with us and secure their consent, this is necessary now.
"This is a national crisis and therefore needs a national response. The coming weeks require urgent preparation and planning from the government. We have already seen the consequences of poor planning and preparation. That cannot happen again."


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