Lib Dems attack ministers on Covid as Ed Davey urges beefed up Plan B

Today’s i newspaper features Sir Ed Davey’s call for the government to bring in a beefed up version of Plan B as a matter of urgency to avoid a winter lockdown. Daisy Cooper also criticises the new Minister for Vaccines and Public Health for keeping a low profile. In the Commons yesterday, Layla Moran challenged the government on whether it is operating a policy of herd immunity.

The Plan B Plus would make face masks mandatory, people would be instructed to work from home and social distancing rules would be reimposed. It would not include Covid passports which the Lib Dems oppose.

Ed Davey said:

Parents are terrified that their children will be forced to lose more school and NHS trusts are nervous about the number of beds and staff. I fear that measures are needed now to prevent a crisis that our economy and our communities cannot afford.

The lights on the dashboard are all blinking red and the government seems to be asleep at the wheel once again.

I fear we are back to where we were in spring and autumn 2020, a government paralysed by incompetence, indifference and indecision leading the country into an inevitable lockdown.

Clearly, we need a proper report which outlines whether further emergency measures are needed now.

Also in the i, Daisy Cooper criticises the new Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, Maggie Throup for keeping a low profile at a “vital time”:

As coronavirus steals the headlines leaving families worried about a fourth wave this winter, the Vaccines Minister is nowhere to be seen.

This is the worst possible time for the minister to go missing from the media.

At this vital time, the public have got urgent questions that need answering about the booster and school jab rollout, yet the minister’s silence is deafening.

In the Commons yesterday, Layla Loran asked whether the government’s plan is herd immunity:

Just yesterday, the Italian Prime Minister pointed at this country as an example of what not to do. We are now such an embarrassment that we are encouraging people elsewhere to follow the rules. Meanwhile, Government sources are this morning briefing that the approach the Government are taking is tantamount to herd immunity. We all know how we feel about Government sources, so can the Minister be clear: is herd immunity the plan? If it is not, what is?

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup did not answer the question:

I am disappointed in the hon. Lady’s approach, because we have led the way not only in vaccines, sourcing them very early on, but in antivirals. It is fantastic news that we were first with vaccines and that, through the Prime Minister’s setting up the antivirals taskforce, we now have the opportunity of some antiviral tablets as well, which will make a huge, huge difference. We are continuing to lead the world.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.