Brexit leader Nigel Farage has criticised Boris Johnson for claiming that the UK may need to have a “national conversation” about mandatory vaccination.
On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an expansion of the mask mandate into more indoor public spaces including in theatres and cinemas as well as shops and on public transport, with the government also recommending the public work from home “if you can”.
The prime minister also introduced for the first time in England the demand for covid passes to enter some venues including nightclubs, with visitors having to prove either double vaccination or a recent negative test.
However, it was following a question from a member of the public on mandatory vaccinations that Johnson threatened the country with a potential “national conversation” on enforcing the medical intervention, leaving Brexit leader Nigel Farage shocked to hear the words come from a British politician’s mouth.
During his Farage programme which aired shortly after the prime minister’s press conference, the Brexit leader said: “I am absolutely astonished by that. I am not surprised the Germans, the Austrians, the European Union are going down that path. But I never, ever, believed in my life I would hear such a thing from a British prime minister.”
Johnson had told the member of the public during his press conference that while early on in the pandemic, he “didn’t want us to have a society and a culture where we forced people to get vaccinated”, he however now believed “there is going to come a point” where “we are going to have to have a conversation about ways in which we deal with this pandemic”.
‘I am absolutely astonished… I never believed I would hear such a thing from a British Prime Minister’
Nigel Farage responds to Boris Johnson’s calls for a ‘national conversation’ on mandatory vaccinations. pic.twitter.com/gUVIKVXrpO
— GB News (@GBNEWS) December 8, 2021
Prime Minister Johnson continued: “I want to be absolutely clear with you: I don’t believe we can keep going indefinitely with non-pharmaceutical interventions, I mean restrictions on people’s way of life just because a substantial proportion of the population still sadly has not got vaccinated.
“And I think we’ll need to have a national conversation about the way forward. And the other things that we can do to protect those who are hard to reach, who haven’t got vaccinated for one reason or another.”
“But that is a stage we will come to, if and when, we establish that the booster is effective against Omicron and the booster is capable of holding Omicron, getting us back into that equilibrium the double jabs got us into with Delta.
“So it’s at that moment we will have to talk seriously about moving on from thinking about further NPIs [non-pharmaceutical interventions],” Mr Johnson said.
The significance of the threat was unambiguous for some Conservative MPs, who almost immediately after the statement came out against possible compulsory vaccination, including David Jones, who said: “I do hope nobody in Government is flirting with the idea of compulsory vaccination. That would be abominable, and I and very many colleagues simply wouldn’t support it.”
I do hope nobody in Government is flirting with the idea of compulsory vaccination. That would be abominable, and I and very many colleagues simply wouldn’t support it.
— David Jones (@DavidJonesMP) December 8, 2021
While Angela Richardson was blunter, saying: “I can say categorically that compulsory vaccinations are a step too far. That is my contribution to a national conversation.”
I can say categorically that compulsory vaccinations are a step too far. That is my contribution to a national conversation.
— Angela Richardson MP (@AJRichardsonMP) December 8, 2021
Remarking on Johnson’s new restrictions, Mr Farage said: “As far as I’m concerned, Mr Johnson, I’m not listening anymore. I don’t believe you have the moral authority to lead this country and to put in place such draconian measures. I have no intention of abiding by anything you’ve asked me to do this evening and I think that sentiment is one that is now being much more widely shared around this country.”