Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to reveal its strategy for getting out of the coronavirus shutdown this week.
In a letter to Dominic Raab, who replaces the Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from COVID-19, Sir Keir said that even if millions of Britons had followed the rules, they “needed to know what was to follow”.
He called on ministers to be “open and transparent” about how coronavirus the restrictions – introduced by the Prime Minister on March 23 – will end.
But a government source said, “Talking about an exit strategy before we reach the top risks blurring the critical message that people must stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives. “
Sir Keir said in his letter that Labor is in favor of extending the lockdown, which the government should do much later this week.
But he said, “Thursday’s question [when the decision is due to be announced] it is no longer a question of whether the foreclosure should be extended, but what the government’s position is on how and when it can be relaxed in a timely manner and on what criteria this decision will be made.
“The ministers argued that this is not the time to talk about it. I strongly disagree. To overcome this crisis, you have to take the British public with you.
“Millions of people have played their part and gone beyond the government’s assumptions about their willingness to make sacrifices and stay at home in the national interest.
“In return, the government needs to be open and transparent with the public about how it thinks the lockdown will loosen and eventually end, how this decision will be informed, and what measures are in place to plan for this eventuality.”
The Labor leader said that “the silent pressures” on communities across the UK “cannot be underestimated”.
He added that to keep morale high and to hope that “people need to know what will follow”.
To this end, Sir Keir called on Mr. Raab to commit to setting out the criteria that the government will use to indicate how and when it intends to facilitate the foreclosure; publish the exit strategy now or in the coming week; and indicate which basic public sectors and services are most likely to see the restrictions relaxed.
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Responding to the letter, a government source said, “Our strategy is focused on saving lives.
“We have made it clear that all decisions will be guided by scientific advice and data.
“Talking about an exit strategy before we reach the top risks confusing the critical message that people must stay at home in order to protect our NHS and save lives. “