POLITICS
11/05/2020 12:37 BST

Boris Johnson Urged By Tory MP To Explain Why Young Are Still In Lockdown

Steve Baker tells HuffPost UK the PM must set out the "true balance of risks" from coronavirus or he could lose public consent.

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Boris Johnson must now explain the “clinical case” for “his lockdown”, including why younger people cannot be released from restrictions while protecting the vulnerable .

Senior Tory MP Steve Baker called for “transparency” from the prime minister so the British public can “understand the true balance of risks” of coronavirus.

He told HuffPost UK there was a risk that Johnson will lose public consent for the lockdown unless he makes clear the scientific reasoning for the restrictions, which some people are already beginning to breach.

Baker called for an explanation about how the disease affects people from different age groups and questioned why younger people who are at a much lower risk of dying cannot have “a more normal existence”.

He is one of several Conservatives growing increasingly concerned about the economic and wider health impacts of the lockdown.

Jack Taylor via Getty Images
Conservative MP Steve Baker

Johnson on Sunday night set out a limited easing of the restrictions, including allowing people unlimited time outside and encouraging more people to go to work.

But he made clear that more significant lifting including the reopening of non-essential shops would not come until June at the earliest, with no prospect of leisure activities like eating at restaurants or going to the cinema until at least the start of July.

Johnson is facing pressure to appear before the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs to explain the reasoning behind the lockdown, but has not yet agreed to appear.

The committee usually meets every Wednesday evening.

Baker told HuffPost UK: “The prime minister really needs to set out transparently all of the clinical advice about the disease and how the epidemic would return if he relaxed the lockdown.

“Absolute transparency about the scientific advice on the disease is really necessary now.

“I’ve talked to people locally who have told me they are starting to meet people - I have had to say that is not actually the law, the law requires that you don’t do it.

“But I think public consent will be in danger if the prime minister and the government don’t just openly set out the clinical case for lockdown.

“People are starting to believe that they understand something of this disease but of course those of us without access to the data and without epidemiological expertise can’t honestly say that we fully understand it.

“And that’s why we need the prime minister to set out the case for his lockdown very clearly, and it is his lockdown.”

Baker said he wanted to know what the government has learned about the transmission of the virus and how it affects different groups.

“Some commentators have proposed segmentation of the vulnerable,” he said.

“He needs to explain why that’s not acceptable, why everyone needs to be part of his lockdown and why it wouldn’t be acceptable to give vulnerable people shielding whilst less vulnerable people have a more normal existence.

“I would just call for transparency about the science so we can all understand the true balance of risks.”