POLITICS
22/03/2021 12:57 GMT | Updated 22/03/2021 13:24 GMT

Boris Johnson Will Join Minute’s Silence For Lockdown Anniversary Privately

It comes amid calls for an inquiry into the PM's handling of the pandemic after more than 126,000 deaths.

Boris Johnson will privately join a minute’s silence to reflect on the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown.

The prime minister will fall silent as part of a national day of reflection organised by charity Marie Curie.

It comes amid calls for an inquiry into the PM’s handling of the pandemic, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 126,000 people so far.

Johnson – who last summer said “I don’t believe in gestures, I believe in substance” – has promised an inquiry but last week refused to say when it would begin.

The Commons and Lords Speakers will also lead a minute’s silence at midday on Tuesday to mark one year since Johnson imposed of the first of three Covid lockdowns in England.

The three shutdowns and raft of additional restrictions between them were not enough to stop the UK recording more than 126,000 Covid-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Asked how Johnson would mark one of the most difficult years in decades, his spokesperson told reporters: “There will be a minute’s silence which the prime minister will be observing privately.”

Asked whether the general public should take part, the spokesperson said: “(The PM) pays tribute to all those who have tragically lost their lives in the pandemic.

“He believes people should personally reflect in whatever way feels right for them.”

CHRISTOPHER FURLONG via POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Boris Johnson visits BAE Systems at Warton Aerodrome in Preston on March 22

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said: “None of us has escaped the ordeal of Covid-19 – from the shock of having our liberty taken away, to the heartbreak of losing someone we loved.

“So, a year on, it is right that we take a moment to reflect on what we as a nation have been through; that we pay tribute to the many lives lost and the families that mourn them, and we say a big ‘thank you’ to our NHS staff who have worked so tirelessly on the front line caring for people in need.”

Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, said: “A year ago today we were asked to stay at home to combat the spread of coronavirus.

“Since then, many thousands have been lost and the lives of those left behind have been changed forever. The public have made enormous sacrifices to protect the lives of others.

“It is right that we in the House of Lords pause now, together with the Commons and the whole country, and remember those who have died and those who are bereaved.”