Boris Johnson will extend the lockdown for another month today – but throws a lifeline for couples by raising the ceiling on wedding guests.
The Prime Minister, who married Carrie 16 days ago, is desperate that the couples’ Happy Day is not wasted.
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Last night, ministers planned to allow no more than 30 guests to attend, as long as they observe social distancing. One of them said: “Hopefully a deal can be done. “
Mr Johnson will present the deal as a glimmer of good news for freedom-hungry Britons on a gloomy day. He will confirm that England’s lockdown has been extended until 19 July, with the option to lift it two weeks earlier.
This comes as the number of cases of the Indian/Delta strain continues to rise. However, the prime minister was not promising that the month-long delay would be the last.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab echoed his words and said no guarantees could be given because “we are dealing with variants”. He told Times Radio that the country should not have “yo-yo measures in and out”.
Conservative MPs and industrialists condemned the decision to extend the lockdown. Rebel Steve Baker urged his conservative allies to oppose it.
Making a great escape style appeal, he wrote, “It is the duty of any officer to attempt an escape.
UK hospitality chief Kate Nichols said a month’s delay would cost businesses £3bn and 180,000 jobs were lost.
She said that if it is necessary to achieve the vaccination goals, it must be “complete and final”.
Infectious disease specialist Dr Andrew Hayward said a significant third wave of cases in Britain was starting to crash. He said the opening would “fuel the flames” causing them to spread rapidly.