Published On: Sun, Apr 26th, 2020

BBC backlash as Dominic Raab scolds Andrew Marr for ‘irresponsible’ line of questions | UK | News

Dominic Raab branded plans to announce an easing of lockdown measures as completely “irresponsible” and could “mislead” the public, in a scathing rebuke of Nicola Sturgeon and Sir Keir Starmer. The Foreign Secretary, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, clashed with Andrew Marr who repeatedly tried to ask about details of how the UK would lift the coronavirus lockdown. The Government has come under increasing pressure to divulge its plans to lift the lockdown after Nicola Sturgeon released her own 25-page plan and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer requested greater clarity from Downing Street.

Mr Raab hit back at Marr this morning in a heated exchange after the BBC host denied he was trying to find out the current plans to lift the lockdown.

The Foreign Secretary hinted at some ways schools, sport and businesses could begin to return to “a new normal”.

However, Mr Raab slapped down those calls to lift the lockdown completely as he said the UK was still at a “delicate and dangerous” stage of the outbreak and the focus must remain on slowing the spread of the disease and reducing the number of deaths.

This prompted Marr to repeatedly interrogate the Cabinet minister on what the specific plans entailed.

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In the exchange, Marr said: “I’m not looking new policy but just your reflections – is it possible for schools to come back without social distancing?”

Mr Raab responded: “I think it is inconceivable that they would come back without some measures that are already applied to those in school, for the children of key workers.”

However, he reiterated that he was “not going to get into this” as he said giving details on specific measures to ease the coronavirus lockdown would be “irresponsible” at this stage.

Despite this remark, Marr persisted: “But that means logically since schools can’t double in size overnight, that the class dies will be smaller.”

The minister scolded the BBC broadcaster’s line of questioning, saying: “If I start suggesting one thing or another now without us knowing where the virus is or testing the package of measures with the scientists, we send the wrong signals and we don’t provide reassurance.

“We might even provide more worry for parents and teachers.”

Earlier in the interview, Mr Raab told the BBC that passing 20,000 deaths in the UK was “heartbreaking” but the toll could have been “much worse” without the strict measures.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to return to work on Monday morning.

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