Sunday shows: “Sajid Javid looks like a hostage – Labour is here to rescue him”

Sienna Rodgers

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, did not rule out the possibility of another lockdown.

  • On the unvaccinated: “They are really having a damaging impact, and I just can’t stress enough, please do come forward and get vaccinated.” Said around nine out of ten of those seriously ill in hospital with Covid are unvaccinated.
  • On the latest SAGE minutes: “There are some people out there that think lockdown is the answer to any new challenge we face. There are others who think you should not do anything at all. My job, the government’s job, is to look at the data, make the best assessment we possibly can and act on that.”
  • On whether there are plans for a lockdown after Christmas: “We keep the situation under review. Of course, we will assess the recent report we have been given by SAGE. We will challenge certain assumptions and we will come to a government decision.”
  • Pressed on the possibility of a lockdown: “We have shown in the past, as a government, in dealing with this pandemic that we will do what is necessary but it has got to be backed up by the data… We are watching the data, discussing it with our scientists and our best advisors almost on an hourly basis and we will monitor that very carefully, we will keep the situation under review.”
  • On more restrictions over Christmas: “If there was a need to take any further action, we would recall parliament and it would have to be a decision for parliament.”
  • On Lord Frost’s resignation: “He’s an outstanding public servant… I wish him the best, but I do understand his reasons. He’s a principled man – principled people do resign from the government, I know all about that.”
  • On Boris Johnson: “We’ve had one very disappointing election result and from that you cannot take away the ability of Boris Johnson to win election after election.”
  • On compliance with more restrictions: “If we do have to take further measures as the situation develops, if we have to do that, then I believe the British people will respond in the same way they have throughout this pandemic where they understand the issues, they know just how important it is for them and their families and they will respond accordingly.”

Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, said Labour is “here to rescue” Sajid Javid from Tory backbenchers who do not want further Covid restrictions. He also welcomed the North Shropshire by-election result and rejected the idea of a progressive alliance.

  • On whether the government is right to wait before imposing more restrictions: “Action sooner rather than later means the strength of the restrictions and the impact on people’s lives, livelihoods and liberties is lowered.”
  • “Sajid Javid looks like a hostage – the good news is that the Labour Party is here to rescue him from that situation. He doesn’t have to negotiate with the people holding him to ransom on his backbenches because we will act in the public interest and we will put public health before party politics.”
  • On Labour voting for a lockdown: “I don’t think a lockdown will be necessary if the government takes action sooner rather than later.”
  • Said Labour will be meeting with the scientific advisers today to explore what measures are needed and replied “I hope so” when asked whether the party would have a revised position on Covid rules in 48 hours.
  • Added: “I think it would be preferable for the government to have a plan and for them to pick up the phone and work with us in the national interest.”
  • On why Labour isn’t voting to oust Boris Johnson: “If there was a motion of no confidence tomorrow, we’d be voting for that.” But added that if Labour tabled such a motion, Tory MPs “would vote against the motion because they’d pull together”.
  • On whether the public will follow restrictions: “We’re a law-abiding country.” Said Johnson should “take a step back” and push clinicians to the forefront for public messaging.
  • On the by-election this week, in which Labour’s vote fell but the Lib Dems won the seat off the Tories: “I don’t think we’re disappointed by the result in North Shropshire. I think it’s a significant defeat for Boris Johnson.” Added that parties are “capable of making informed judgments of where to spend their resources”.
  • On a progressive alliance: “I don’t think voters like the idea of backroom deals and pacts between political parties. Voters are perfectly capable of making their own informed choices about the outcome they want to see.”

Ed Davey, leader of the Lib Dems, said the North Shropshire by-election has “proven the Conservatives can be beaten anywhere”.

The Andrew Marr Show

Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, made a direct appeal to people to get their booster jabs

  • On new restrictions: “If new restrictions are brought in, and by the way it is inevitable, there must, must be a major package of financial support for our hospitality, culture and retail. December is the crucial month for them.”
  • “If we don’t bring in new restrictions sooner rather than later, you’re going to see even more positive cases, and potentially public services like the NHS on the verge of collapse, if not collapsing.”
  • On whether Londoners should be going to pubs and restaurants: “If they can do so safely. Pubs, restaurants, bars have worked so hard to make their places Covid-safe. Before you go out, do a lateral flow test. Make sure you keep social distance where you can. Wear a face mask where you can’t keep your social distance. Make sure you’ve been boosted.”
  • On support: “It’s cheaper to support businesses with grants, with business rates relief and with furlough, than allowing them to go bust.”
  • On rates of vaccination in London being low compared to other parts of the country: “It isn’t compared to other global cities.”
  • On people following Covid rules: “If rule-makers are seen to be rule-breakers, it’s hardly surprising that people don’t follow additional announcements made by the government.”
  • Would not say whether the Metropolitan Police should investigate the Downing Street Christmas parties as they have “operational independence” and it would be inappropriate for him, as a police and crime commissioner, to say.

Sajid Javid did not rule out new Covid restrictions before Christmas or another lockdown, saying: “There are no guarantees in this pandemic”.

  • On whether he can rule out new restrictions before Christmas: “We are assessing the situation, it’s very fast-moving. There’s a lot we still don’t know about Omicron, that’s the truth of the matter. There’s a lot of uncertainty, there’s gaps in the data, but we must work with the data we’ve got. We mustn’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.”
  • On Omicron: “Even if severity is much less than Delta… a small percentage of a very large number of infections is still a large number of hospitalisations.”
  • On whether and how behaviour should change: “It’s time to be more cautious. We know this thing is spreading rapidly… If you’re going to meet someone, take a test in advance, for example.”
  • On the latest SAGE minutes: “It’s a very sobering analysis. We take it very seriously. There are gaps in the data… But we will look at this data, we will take into account other factors and then decide whether further action is needed or not.”
  • On whether he would rule out a lockdown: “If you wait until data is absolutely perfect, it may be too late… There are no guarantees in this pandemic. At this point, we just have to keep everything under review.”
  • Asked whose fault was the North Shropshire by-election result: “It was our fault. The Conservative Party, collectively. How we handled the Owen Paterson affair was wrong, I’ve said that before, I regret my role in that. That was wrong and that was hugely damaging of course because he was their MP… And I think the recent news on whether there were gatherings in No 10 or not gatherings… that hasn’t helped.”
  • On whether the Christmas parties investigation will now include parties involving Simon Case, who was leading the investigation until Friday, he said the new investigation lead Sue Gray “will be able to investigate who she wants”.

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