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‘Ill thought out at best’: Barking and Dagenham MPs slam government roadmap to ease England out of lockdown

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 May 2020

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge and Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: Parliament.

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge and Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: Parliament.

Parliament

The borough’s political leaders have slammed the government’s roadmap for easing England out of lockdown restrictions.

Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica TaylorBoris Johnson in the House of Commons. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas and Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge rounded on plans unveiled by prime minister Boris Johnson which included telling people to return to work if they can and are unable to work from home.

The strategy includes the slogan, Stay alert, control the virus, save lives.

Mr Cruddas said: “On Sunday the [prime minister] released another instalment of the government’s incoherent Covid-19 strategy.

“The fact that leaders across the United Kingdom are advising against Mr Johnson’s latest change to guidelines tells us everything we need to know about their credibility.

“The irresponsible delivery of new guidance, giving employers only 12 hours’ notice to ensure safe working environments and encouraging staff back to work was ill thought out at best.

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“I have no doubt that this will have left many of the lowest paid in a difficult situation this week.”

He advised constituents to continue to work from home where possible and follow social distancing guidelines.

“The evidence from other nations suggests that if we ease the lockdown too rapidly, we risk facing a dangerous second wave of the virus. So please - stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives,” Mr Cruddas added.

Dame Margaret was equally damning of the plans: “The prime minister’s televised address on Sunday did not give us the clarity we needed. For many of us it threw up more questions than it answered.”

Barking’s MP, condemning the guidelines as “often confusing and impractical”, said the briefing failed to address simple issues such as managing the commute to work or the possibility of visiting family and friends.

She implored the government to “get its act together”.

However, the government described its plan as a “cautious” roadmap to easing existing measures in a “safe and measured” way.

A government spokesman said: “It is subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread. The roadmap will be kept under review as the epidemic develops.”


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