COVID-19: Boris Johnson has to convince the cabinet he’s right to scrap restrictions, and win the public’s trust once more | Politics News

Today the prime minister will call on his cabinet to unite behind his plan to move the country out of COVID regulations.

The rules around self-isolation will be lifted in England – but it will be for the devolved administrations to decide whether they do the same or not.

The pandemic is far from over, Boris Johnson himself acknowledges that, but this next stage will be welcomed by many. Businesses around the country are desperate for certainty and the chance to grow after two difficult years.

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PM criticised over COVID plans

Families and friends, excited by newly won freedoms, don’t want to face the thought of being forced to miss any more time together.

But it will be difficult for some, too.

There are concerns about ending free mass testing, about tracking new variants and protecting the most vulnerable.

And lots of people around the country will find the psychological shift far harder to get their heads around after years of learning to stay away from others.

As difficult a moment it is for the country, this is quite a moment for the prime minister too. Parliament returns today after a week of recess.

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‘It is too early to end mandatory testing’

Some didn’t believe Boris Johnson would make it to the start of the break still in post, now that he has, and the world faces the prospect of war between Ukraine and Russia, thoughts in the Conservative Party are turning to whether it is the best time for a leadership race.

It wouldn’t just throw Mr Johnson’s position into question, but potentially those of the foreign secretary and defence secretary too – at a time when the country can ill-afford not to focus on Vladimir Putin.

Might those backbenchers who were so furious and let down by partygate feel they have missed their chance?

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Lifting COVID restrictions in England and ending free mass testing is a risk, but the prime minister believes it is a calculated one.

Today he has to convince his cabinet he’s right, then he will have to win the trust of the country once more.

He hopes eventually even those with concerns will agree the time was right, and that making such an arguably bold move will pay off with his restive backbenchers too.

The Great Debate is on Monday at 9pm

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