Tuesday, 27 Jul 2021

PM hits back after U-turn: Boris insists he only ‘briefly’ considered not isolating

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will be self isolating

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Boris Johnson has insisted he only “briefly” considered not self-isolating after he was pinged by NHS Test and Trace. The Prime Minister sparked controversy this morning after it was reported he and Rishi Sunak were going to avoid self-isolation through a daily contact testing pilot. Following an intense backlash and mounting pressure, both the Prime Minister and Chancellor appeared to make a quick U-turn and instead confirmed plans to self-isolate.

In a video posted on Twitter late this afternoon, Mr Johnson addressed criticism of his previous plan.

Speaking from Chequers, where he is now self-isolating, the Prime Minister said: “We did look briefly into the idea of us taking part in the pilot scheme which allows people to test daily.

“But I think it’s far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules.

“That’s why I’m going to be self-isolating until 26 July.”

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Mr Johnson told viewers: “I really do urge everybody to stick with the programme and take the appropriate course of action when you’re asked to do so by NHS test and trace.”

The video was posted alongside a caption that read: “Like so many people I’ve been pinged by NHS Test and Trace as I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, and I will be self-isolating until Monday 26th July.”

Mr Johnson was originally pinged after contact with Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

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Despite the U-turn, Mr Johnson has still faced a severe backlash.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has been scathing of the Prime Minister’s handling, claiming the only reason Mr Johnson reversed his decision not to self-isolate was because “he has been busted”.

The leader of the opposition told BBC News: “Yet again it is double standards from the government.”

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He continued: “The Prime Minister is causing utter chaos with his reckless decision-making and that means infection rates are going through the roof, hundreds of thousands of people are having to self-isolate and they are doing the right thing.

“What happens when the rules apply to the prime minister? He tries to wriggle out of them and pretend he’s on some pilot scheme that exempts him.

“I’m afraid that, yet again, we see it is one rule for them and another for everybody else.”

Mr Johnson is going ahead with the full re-opening of the economy tomorrow on July 19 despite a new surge in Covid cases.

New infections are running at their highest level since January due to the rise in the Delta variant. 

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