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LONDON – Two days after suddenly announcing plans to bring Britain back to the siege, Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a Monday uprising from members of his Conservative Party, who said that he went too far and faced criticism from opposition leaders, who suggested he acted too late to stop the second wave of coronavirus.
Mr. Johnson’s decision, a reluctant reversal after weeks of stubbornly opposed locking the door, does not seem to please anyone. His allies in the right-wing press oppose him, as do disgruntled business leaders.
The opposite man even reopened the error lines from the debate about Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, as Nigel Farage, the pro-Brexit leader, said he would rename his Brexit Party with a the new name, the UK Reform and a platform opposing the order to close.
One sullen man, Mr. Johnson defended himself in Congress, apologized for the economic losses caused by the lockout but insisted there was no alternative. According to him, with the current rate of infection and hospitalization, British hospitals will have to eliminate patients within a few weeks.
“Doctors and nurses may be forced to choose which patients to treat, who will live and who will die,” he said. “That principle of divine care for anyone who needs it – who they are and whenever they need it – can be broken for the first time in our lives.”
The leader of the Labor Party, Keir Starmer, endorsed the closing. However, he accused the prime minister of mating for 40 days after his scientific advisers recommended taking this step – a delay he claims has come at the expense of his life.
Mr. Johnson’s now-defunct targeted restrictive program, he said, “not only failed to stop the second wave, but they got caught up with it”. Mr. Starmer called for the “circuit breaker” to be locked for two weeks almost three weeks ago.
The depth of Britain’s challenge to the coronavirus virus is underlined by Sunday news that Prince William, son of Prince Charles, and second to throne, infected the virus last spring, at the same time as his father.
Prince William did not disclose the results of his diagnosis because he did not want to alarm the country, according to the Sun, the first newspaper to report.
For all the criticism towards Mr. Johnson, his latest plans are unlikely to derail. While some Conservative members of Congress said they would oppose the close-out measure when voting on Wednesday, the prime minister’s 80-seat majority, plus the Labor Party seal of approval, all but guarantees that it will be approved by the House of Representatives.
However, the growing unrest among the Conservative ranks, the growing strength of the opposition and Mr. Farage’s reemergence as a right-wing threat created a difficult scene. for Mr. Johnson.
Even among his supporters, there is disappointment at the inconsistency of the government and the unpredictable problems that can be predicted – and the constant questions of government capacity.
Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University, London, said: “The problem is if a story is set up he lacks the ability to grasp the situation. “Most members of the Conservative party of Parliament realize that not running again is energy.”
Mr. Bale added that “if the polls turn south very quickly,” Mr. Johnson “will start entering more anxious territory.”
Among the growing lawmakers were lawmakers from the north of the country, where the Conservative party won several key parliamentary seats from the Labor Party last year. They fear that Mr Johnson’s promise to “upgrade” the economy in the region could be washed away by the economic wave caused by the pandemic.
Mr. Johnson barely posed after a heated argument with the mayors of the north over including their cities, heavily affected by the virus, in deliberate close-offs. Some people objected to what they said was the government’s insistence on reducing the amount it would pay people who lost their jobs because of the restrictions.
Under the national embargo, the government would extend a subsidy program that pays 80% of these people’s salaries – a concession the mayors said demonstrated that the government did not treat the North the same way. South.
“Why does locking the door affect London for them to solve these problems?” Andy Burnham, mayor of Labor for Greater Manchester, said in an interview. “Why isn’t it resolved when it’s just Manchester?”
Conservatives have many other objections – that shutdowns are the death knell for the economy, a violation of civil liberties and evidence that the government lacks a coherent strategy to overcome through a pandemic.
“As we move further into an authoritarian coercive state, the only legal mechanism left open for me is to vote against it,” said Charles Walker, vice president of the influential 1922 committee. of Conservative lawmakers, said. “The people of this country will never forgive the political class for criminalizing parents seeing their children.”
Another Conservative lawmaker, Philip Davies, asked Mr. Johnson how many jobs are lost and businesses that fail is “the price to pay for continuing to pursue the strategy of locking the door and the limit. this failure arbitrarily “.
The chaotic nature of the announcement has increased suspicion. Mr. Johnson convened an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday after internal discussions leaked late on Friday. Downing Street then ruined the rollout, delaying a press conference by almost three hours, prompting it to run into the popular BBC variety show, “Seriously to dance.”
Mr. Johnson’s reversal is particularly embarrassing because he spent more than two weeks getting Mr. Starmer asking for a circuit breaker, which turned out to be half the time the last prime minister had approved. Late Friday, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab defended the “centralized, localized approach” of what he called the “blunt tool” of a national key strike.
“You create outrage from loyal supporters who have recently defended only a government policy that they were deemed inviolable, only to take their word for a few days later,” Mr. Bale said.
Mr. Johnson, he said, should not be underestimated the threat posed by Reform UK, as party positions may attract Conservative voters. In addition to embargoes, Mr. Farage, who also headed the UK Independence Party, has the ability to call for tougher immigration rules and to oppose policies he sees as “politically correct. “.
While the outlook for the UK Reform will be hampered by the British electoral system – which is detrimental to small parties because of a one-to-one voting system – it can still work by withdrawing. less support from the Conservative Party.
“If the Reform Party can scare Conservative members of Congress as the Independent Party of Great Britain and the Brexit Party do, it will be very important,” Bale said.