Government Stalls on Covid-19 Alcohol Consumption Plan

Talk about Partygate using up all the government’s bandwidth; responding to a question from Labour MP Alex Cunningham about the Department for Health’s plan to “tackle the increase in alcohol consumption during the covid-19 outbreak”, this afternoon Gillian Keegan revealed the department is currently unable to answer this question. Despite extensive real-world research by No. 10: 

Presumably Gillian’s also waiting on Sue Gray…

Hat-tip: Jack Elsom

mdi-timer 28 January 2022 @ 17:10 28 Jan 2022 @ 17:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Keegan: If You Can’t Change Your New Year’s Eve Plans Quickly Maybe Think About Them

Health minister Gillian Keegan have a strong hint this morning that the government will be introducing major restrictions after Christmas. Asked by Nick Ferrari whether he’d be able to send out invitations to his New Year’s Eve party she replied:

All I’ll say is there is uncertainty, so if you can’t change your plans quickly maybe think about it.”

Her own plans? She’ll be having a cheese and wine evening…

mdi-timer 22 December 2021 @ 08:30 22 Dec 2021 @ 08:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
The Tories’ Three Day Mask Farce

While Labour don’t know whether they’re coming or going on the question of ‘to Plan B or not to Plan B’, the Tories seem to be in an absolute tailspin on the mask question. After noticeably appearing at PMQs en masse without facemasks, Sajid Javid told the nation on Wednesday “we’ve all got our role to play in this”, and it was a “fair point” to note a difference in what Tory MPs are saying and what they’re doing:

During Business Questions yesterday, however, Rees-Mogg pointed to a sub-clause of the mask rule saying they’re needed in crowded spaces “with people that you don’t know”, and given Tory MPs know each other they could avoid the need for masks because of their “convivial, fraternal spirit”.

On Question Time last night we got pulled once again in the complete opposite direction by Andrew Bowie MP, who told the Scottish audience Tory MPs have a responsibility to “set the tone” and lead by example, referring back to the Health Secretary’s words:

This morning on the ministerial morning media round, however, Gillian Keegan both waxed lyrical about the need for individual responsibility and the innate common sense of the British people, however when asked if that put her in the Rees-Mogg school of though she laughed “no… Covid doesn’t look at whether you know someone or not, it’s an infection!”

Everyone clear? Good…

mdi-timer 22 October 2021 @ 08:58 22 Oct 2021 @ 08:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government’s Mixed Messaging Over England Squad’s Kneeling

The government can’t seem to figure out its line on the England squad’s decision to take the knee during the Euros. On the one hand, Number 10 claims that Boris “fully respects” the team’s move (despite previously opposing it), though notably stopping short of criticising fans’ booing. Pro cake, pro-eating it…

Then last night on Question Time, Skills Minister Gillian Keegan lit a fuse under the whole thing by insisting that kneeling was actually ‘divisive‘, and that it’s “symbolism more than action“. Even going so far as to defend the booing fans, claiming “I’m pretty sure most of them would like to end racism as well”…

Clearly on full damage control duty, vaccine chief Nadhim Zahawi then appeared on the Today Programme this morning to insist that the government does support taking the knee, and that Zahawi “absolutely backs” it personally:

“The elegant way, quite passionate way, that the England manager, Gareth Southgate, put this is exactly where the Prime Minister is, where this government is […] I think he articulated the emotions of young men beautifully and I think it’s only right that we back our team.”

Guido is told that within government circles there is a debate about the whole culture war approach – touched on this morning by Fraser Nelson in his Telegraph column. Old school Tories find it all a bit infra dig, whereas the 2019 intake Tories are keen for the fight. It looks to Guido like the government would rather just stay away from this whole debate…

UPDATE: PM’s spokesman tells the lobby, “The Prime Minister would like to see everybody get behind the team to cheer them on, not boo.”

mdi-timer 11 June 2021 @ 11:05 11 Jun 2021 @ 11:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Minister Reacts to Equality Adviser Quitting: “I Don’t Even Know Who He Is”

Reacting to the news of No. 10’s most senior black advisor Samuel Kasumu resigning over yesterday’s racism report, Skills minister Gillian Keegan bluntly told Times Radio I don’t even know who he is!” Probably not the political eulogy Kasumu was hoping for…

Incidentally, it’s second time successful for Kasumu’s resignation. Back in February he was on the verge of quitting – prompted by the Kemi Badenoch/Huffington Post row – and despite being persuaded back from the brink his resignation letter still got leaked in full to the press. Guido presumes today’s announcement merely asked Boris to refer back to the last one…

UPDATE: No. 10 now claiming Kasumu was always set to go anyway:

“As he previously set out, he will be leaving government in May – this has been his plan for several months…Any suggestion that this decision has been made this week or that this is linked to the CRED report is completely inaccurate.”

mdi-timer 1 April 2021 @ 09:59 1 Apr 2021 @ 09:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
UK Hits Corona Crunch Time

Events appear to be coming to a head today as the Government is set to hold Downing Street meetings to hammer out plans to reverse the surging Coronavirus cases up north. Rishi Sunak today is also set to announce a new local furlough scheme for those areas forced to close hospitality as part of local lockdowns. Though it will be set at two-thirds a worker’s total wage rather than the original four-fifths…

Official data now seems to suggest some areas are spiraling, with Nottingham now topping the list in England with almost 700 cases per 100,000; and hospitals in these hotspot areas are extremely likely to reach the peak April capacity of almost 3,000 patients before the end of October. As minister Gillian Keegan said on Question Time last night, the virus is “getting out of control” in some parts of the north*. 

*Comments are open to argue about whether Nottingham is in the north.
mdi-timer 9 October 2020 @ 09:15 9 Oct 2020 @ 09:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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