Former Prime Minister Theresa May has led a backbench rebellion against a second lockdown, demanding the government provide more statistics on the adverse harm the first lockdown had on people’s health. A total of fifty Conservative MPs rebelled against the government bill to impose new restrictions, Theresa being one of 16 who abstained from the vote. Mrs May led criticism of the new measures, stating they would ‘shatter livelihoods’ as she raised concerns as to why parliament had not been getting access to all the data on the consequences of prolonged lockdown.
To see a former leader tear into a current PM the way May did is a rare and memorable event. In fact, not since Sir Edward Heath lambasted Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s have we seen such an overt attack of this nature. The scene however took on a rather comic nature as Johnson, not staying to face May’s tirade, slunk off like a naughty teenager avoiding a telling off from his mother. His departure didn’t go unnoticed in the House of Commons, with ministers muttering in reprehension of his actions.
Mrs May was clearly furious, and did not conceal her severe doubts over the government’s handling of the Covid crisis. Unperturbed by Johnson’s snub, she continued that, having analysed all the SAGE literature, it was clear that a two to three week ‘circuit breaker’ such as the one the government has proposed for the next month, would clearly not be adequate in combating the disease, and such a lockdown would have to be repeated several times. She raised concerns as to how ‘any economy could have borne the damage that would have done’ but moreover how such repeated lockdowns would impact people’s mental and physical health. She said no ‘proper analysis’ had been provided to MPs and that as a result, many were concluding that ‘The figures are used to support the policy rather than the policy supporting the figures’.
Theresa May’s allegations regarding the adverse effect of lockdown are in fact supported by other findings. For example, it was reported this week that there has been an alarming rise of babies deliberately injured or killed during lockdown – around 20% according to Ofsted. Such shocking statistics have been blamed on a ‘toxic mix’ of isolation,