MICHAEL Gove has told colleagues he would “bet on a relaxation” of restrictions on June 21 despite mounting fears the PM will hold off.
In a flicker of hope amid gloomy rumblings of a delay, the senior Cabinet Minister was bullish about taking some restraints off on “Freedom Day”.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates
Michael Gove is bullish about relaxing some restrictions on June 21[/caption]
Mr Gove told ministers on Monday that “if I were a betting man, I’d bet on a relaxation”, according to the HuffPost website.
Rising infections of the Indian variant have spurred scientists to call for Boris Johnson to press pause on the last stage of his roadmap.
Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly presented Cabinet Ministers with a “downbeat” assessment of Britain’s Covid situation.
It prompted fears in Government that the PM was prepared to delay the unlocking for between two weeks and a month until to allow all over-50s to be double-jabbed.
But Mr Gove’s optimistic prediction of being able to loosen measures will buoy Brits holding out hope.
Mr Gove is a member of the PM’s top Covid team steering the Government’s crisis response.
Asked about his Cabinet colleague’s reported comments, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick it’s a “finely balanced decision”.
He told Times Radio: “I think it’s too early to say. We created the five week window in which we will analyse the data, and that is proving invaluable.”
Mr Johnson will announce his final decision whether or not to press ahead with Freedom Day on June 14.
Downing Street maintains there remains “nothing in the data” to suggest that the roadmap will be derailed.
Yet the PM told Cabinet colleagues yesterday “we must continue to look at the data carefully ahead of making a decision on step four”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is willing to stomach up to a four-week delay to the roadmap, the Guardian claimed this morning.
Boris Johnson will make a final decision about June 21 next Monday[/caption]
Most read in Politics
PM can save June 21 by diverting vaccines to Manchester, says Burnham
Hiking gas bills with levy switch will hit poor hardest, Boris Johnson warned
Reversing foreign aid cuts 'would slap a penny on income tax for every Brit'
BANGERS BAN BID
EU told to drop 'bonkers' sausage ban plan that could spark UK trade war
My sister Jo Cox wanted me to embrace life – which is why I'm standing as an MP
June 21: What could change on 'Freedom Day' and what could stay
However a top Bank of England economist said ploughing on with June 21 is needed to “put the mojo” back into Britain.
He told LBC today: “It will be fantastic for the economy, another leg up, going up a further gear if we had the final stage of lockdown, the roadmap being followed on the 21st.
“It would mean that businesses could plan for a good summer and therefore would open up.”