Opposition leaders have rounded on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for sending out confusing and muddled advice that they claimed could cost lives as the government attempts to move away from the coronavirus lockdown.
MPs in the Commons criticised the change of the government’s message from “stay at home” to “stay alert”, questioned whether Johnson could still speak for the entire nation, and called for new work guidelines to be published as employees started returning to work this week.
Johnson denied that he has been acting as the prime minister of only England after the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland rejected Downing Street’s new slogan.
Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said Johnson had struggled to hold the nation together and failed to provide clarity and reassurance to concerned citizens.
Johnson rejected the criticisms, telling MPs the government was offering good advice for the whole of the UK. But he accepted that different places may need different policies in the short term.
Johnson’s address to the nation on Sunday prompted concern from unions and opposition politicians about the lack of a clear message. The government then published further details on Monday in a 60-page document called Our Plan to Rebuild, which recommended wearing face coverings in crowded places and allowed further activities in outside spaces such as meeting friends.