Failure to dismiss the health secretary risks making a laughing stock of the government’s Covid strategy
As early as next week, Boris Johnson must decide if England is making sufficient progress in suppressing the Covid pandemic through the vaccine programme to justify ending lockdown restrictions in July. He is increasingly likely to have to tell the country news that it will not want to hear. Friday’s announcement that cases of the Delta variant in the UK increased by 46% over the previous week to a total of 111,157 is daunting. The figures are a severe worsening, not the improvement for which Mr Johnson hoped.
The prime minister must level with the public about the implications for the summer and autumn. Those implications are not good. This is the sort of thing Mr Johnson finds difficult. But things have now been made a great deal harder for him by the admission of the health secretary, Matt Hancock, on Friday – in what will surely go down as one of the great euphemisms of the era – that he has breached social distancing regulations in his relationship with his departmental aide Gina Coladangelo.
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