November 27, 2020

Boris Johnson: Why being stuck in quarantine has come at the worst possible time for the prime minister – Sky News

https://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnson-why-being-stuck-in-quarantine-has-come-at-the-worst-possible-time-for-the-prime-minister-12133956

Boris Johnson has been forced to rethink his reset.

In the week the prime minister was planning to take charge of the news agenda – announcing his policy vision for a post-pandemic, post-Brexit and post-Cummings Britain – he’s been locked down.

All of this comes at the high-pressure point in Brexit trade negotiations, when – according to Ireland‘s foreign minister – a “major breakthrough” is needed.

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Self-isolating PM to ‘wallop’ COVID ‘into submission’

Policy launches and face-to-face meetings with EU officials are now out of bounds for the next 10 days.

The PM is stuck in the flat above Number 11 Downing Street that he shares with his fiancé Carrie Symonds and youngest son Wilfred.

In a video message recorded last night and tweeted this morning, the PM appears energetic and positive, perhaps the most upbeat we have seen him in weeks.

His core message seems to be that the rules apply to everybody: in clear contrast to the individual interpretations of Dominic Cummings.

Just because he is the prime minister, just because he has already had COVID-19, and just because he claims to be “as fit as a butcher’s dog”, it does not mean he is exempt.

He is setting an example at a time government officials are privately concerned about compliance.

Mr Johnson claims he was social-distancing in the 35-minute meeting with backbench MPs last Thursday, but photos of the event appear to show attendees far closer than two metres.

If he had kept his distance, surely he wouldn’t be forced into quarantine.

No 10 claim theirs is a COVID-secure workplace, but some who work there insist it isn’t. The fact the most powerful man in the country isn’t better protected from these eventualities suggests a review may be necessary.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News today he has “no doubt” the prime minister will be able to “drive his agenda forward” via Zoom.

That will surely push the concept of “working from home” to its limits.