Mark Harper tells Boris to disprove Dom Cummings’ ‘shopping trolley’ jibe with June 21 reopening


Prove Dominic Cummings wrong by opening up on June 21: Top Tory Mark Harper tells Boris Johnson he can disprove ex-aide’s claim his government is a wonky ‘shopping trolley’ by holding firm over lockdown easing

  • Harper used criticism levelled at PM by Dominic Cummings to urge consistency 
  • Ex-aide said PM was like ‘trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other’
  • Mr Harper said Boris ‘will want to try very hard not to substantiate … accusation’

Boris Johnson was charged today with proving Dominic Cummings wrong and showing his Government is not an out-of-control ‘shopping trolley’  by ending lockdown as planned on June 21.

The former Tory Chief Whip Mark Harper used the astonishing criticism levelled at the Prime Minister by his former top aide to put pressure on Mr Johnson not to delay the next easement.

It comes amid fears that the now dominant Indian variant could force a delay of several weeks from June 21, to determine its impact on hospitalisation and death rates

Tory lockdown hawks are demanding that the economy be freed, arguing that the vaccine rollout can take care of the new variant.

Last week Mr Cummings used a  seven-hour marathon appearance before MPs to accuse the PM of being like ‘a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other’, changing his mind relentlessly on policies like quarantine.

Speaking to the website Politico today Mr Harper said: ‘I think the government will want to try very hard not to substantiate the Cummings accusation about shopping trolley decision-making.’

He argued that further delay would amount to ‘basically condemning a lot of people to not having a job or their business failing.’ 

 Speaking to the website Politico today Mr Harper said: ‘I think the government will want to try very hard not to substantiate the Cummings accusation about shopping trolley decision-making.’

Last week Mr Cummings used a seven-hour marathon appearance before MPs to accuse the PM of being like 'a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other', changing his mind relentlessly on policies like quarantine.

Last week Mr Cummings used a seven-hour marathon appearance before MPs to accuse the PM of being like ‘a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other’, changing his mind relentlessly on policies like quarantine.

The former Tory Chief Whip Mark Harper used the astonishing criticism levelled at the Prime Minister by his former top aide to put pressure on Mr Johnson not to delay the next easement

The former Tory Chief Whip Mark Harper used the astonishing criticism levelled at the Prime Minister by his former top aide to put pressure on Mr Johnson not to delay the next easement

It came as one of the country’s most senior scientists warned that lockdowns are ‘awful’ and Britain must learn to live with Covid without restrictions.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the measures had had ‘very profound consequences’ on the nation’s mental health, education and jobs.

But he was hopeful that the Government would be able to open up on June 21 based on the data so far – but stressed the next few weeks would be ‘crucial.’

He pointed out that more than eight in ten adults would be vaccinated by then, adding that he was ‘very confident’ the jabs were working.

Sir Jeremy Farrar (pictured), director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the measures had had ‘very profound consequences’ on the nation’s mental health, education and jobs

Sir Jeremy Farrar (pictured), director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the measures had had ‘very profound consequences’ on the nation’s mental health, education and jobs

‘There is a danger of not opening up and this infection is now a human endemic infection. It’s not going away,’ he said. ‘Humanity will live with this virus now for ever. And there will be new variants. This year, next year, the year after, there will be new variants – and we will have to learn to cope with that.

‘Lockdowns are awful. They are a mark that you haven’t been able to control the virus in other ways. They have very profound consequences on mental health, on education, on job opportunities particularly affecting people on lower incomes.

‘Societies can’t stay in that mode for ever.’

Earlier this week Boris Johnson said that while there was nothing in the data to suggest the June 21 ending of lockdown could not go ahead, the numbers were ‘still ambiguous’.

But Sir Jeremy said he was hopeful the jabs had ‘separated’ the inevitable rise of infections which comes with easing restrictions and the subsequent increase in hospitalisations.

Asked whether he thought the country would be able to open up on June 21, he added: ‘If you really push me today, I would say I’m more optimistic because I think that the vaccines have been so incredibly successful.’

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