‘Cowardly and Incompetent’ Boris Johnson Faces Calls to Resign After Lockdown Announcement

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 31: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a press conference in 10 Downing Street on October 31, 2020 in London, England. The PM announced a new four week lockdown across England, starting Thursday, to help combat a coronavirus surge. (Photo by …
Alberto Pezzali-Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that England will be placed under a second national lockdown was met with fury and derision in some quarters, with some going so far to call for his resignation.

On Saturday evening, Mr Johnson addressed the nation to announce the imposition of national lockdown restrictions starting from next Thursday, which also happens to be the same date as Guy Fawkes Day.

Mr Johnson said in his announcement that the rising number of coronavirus cases in England left him with “no alternative”, insisting: “We have got to be humble in the face of nature. In this country, alas, as in much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers.”

The announcement — which was originally planned for Monday, but was pushed forward after his intention to lock down the nation was leaked to the press on Saturday — drew waves of criticism for the embattled British leader.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “On November 5th Boris is blowing up our economy, our liberty and his own legacy.”

British actor and leader of the Reclaim Party Laurence Fox called for Johnson to “resign”, writing on social media: “We are being ruled by one of the most and cowardly and incompetent fools of modern times [sic]. Staggering lack of leadership. Data yet again just conjecture. Worst case after worst case. 6 months at least to prepare the NHS. Resign Boris Johnson.”

London Assembly Member David Kurten added: “Boris is a menace to England. His Lockdown 2 is an unnecessary disaster. It is a lie that it is necessary. Sweden proves it. Disobey.”

The Prime Minister also faced criticism from members of his own party, including former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who said: “The PM’s announcement of [a second national lockdown] is a body blow to the British people.”

“Just as the economy was picking up, even giving cause for optimism, we’re now to impersonate the Grand Old Duke of York, giving in to the scientific advisers & marching England back into another lockdown,” Sir Iain said.

On Sunday morning, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove admitted that the government will consider extending the national lockdown past the initial four-week period, telling Sky News: “We will always take a decision in the national interest, based on evidence.”

“We want to be in a position where we can — and I believe that this is likely to be the case — have an approach where if we bring down the rate of infection sufficiently we can reduce measures nationally and also reduce measures regionally,” Gove said.

The decision to place England under a second national lockdown will be voted on by Parliament next week, with some members of the Conservative Party already stating their intention to vote against the measure.

Conservative Party MP Sir Desmond Swayne said that he will be voting against the lockdown bill, telling The Critic: “These are difficult decisions but that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s the wrong decision. More people will die in the long run.”

“Every year thousands of people are carried off as a result of the flu but we don’t run around like headless chickens,” Sir Desmond added.

Bolton West MP Chris Green, who resigned from the government earlier this month in protest against the China virus restrictions, also said that he will vote against the second national lockdown, saying that the government’s plan will only push “the problem into the New Year when another similar lockdown will be imposed.”

“There was no explanation of the balance between the projected cost of COVID-19 and the known cost of lockdown to health, business, education, and liberty. The Prime Minister did not give a scientific basis for exiting the lockdown so are we being led by the science or a desire for Christmas parties?” Green questioned.

Despite the growing backlash in the Conservative Party against the lockdown, the bill is likely to easily pass through a vote in the House of Commons, as the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, has come out in favour of more lockdown restrictions.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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