Boris Johnson apologized for misinterpreting his government’s coronavirus restrictions in a blunder that would fuel growing criticism of his response to the pandemic.
The mistake of where and when people can socialize is likely to encourage rebellion on the part of Johnson’s conservative colleagues, who are unfortunate ministers who have imposed restrictions and new crimes without first being discussed in Parliament.
Rebel Tories expect compromise amid anger over British virus rule
Earlier on Tuesday, Skill Secretary Gillian Keegan simply admit itTed did not know the answer during a radio interview, while Johnson spokesman James Slack told reporters that the details would be revealed later.
When the prime minister himself was asked if people in the northeast could communicate with other households, he suggested that they could, in groups of no more than six.
“In the northeast or in other areas where extremely strict measures have been taken, you have to follow the instructions of the local authorities, but this is six at home or six in hospitality, but as I understand it, not six outside, this is the situation there,” he said. Johnson.
He later tweeted: “I’m sorry, I missed today. In the Northeast, the new rules mean that you cannot meet people from different households indoors in social conditions, including pubs, restaurants and at home. You should also avoid communicating with other households outside. “
The prime minister’s mistake could hardly have come at a more sensitive time. He faces a revolt from his own party over the imposition of viral restrictions without a vote in parliament, and the fact that he cannot explain the rules on his own will encourage his opponents ahead of a potential vote Wednesday.
Negotiations are under way for a possible compromise between the government and the rebels, but no agreement has been announced yet.
In addition to the pressure for compromise, Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the liaison committee, the group representing all of Parliament’s committees, wrote to Johnson that lawmakers should be consulted appropriately.
“The idea that such restrictions can be applied without the explicit approval of parliament, except as a last resort, is not widely accepted and can indeed be challenged by law,” Jenkin wrote. “We believe that the government will adopt an appropriate amendment or accept a proposal to do so as soon as possible during or before Wednesday’s debate.”
Johnson’s party wonders if he is losing power
More broadly, Johnson faces questions about the competence of his administration. Conservative members of parliament are increasingly unhappy with his leadership and complain that he has already made too many blunders.
Appearing in Exeter, south-west England, Johnson dismissed questions from the media about his health, saying he was more fitter than before he contracted the coronavirus in March.
(Updates with context, details starting in the second paragraph.)