Boris Johnson is reportedly set to lift England’s Plan B coronavirus restrictions in the next review as he struggles to salvage his post as Prime Minister amid fresh party allegations in Downing Street throughout the pandemic.
A decision on the measures, including Covid passes and work-from-home advice, is expected on January 26, by which time the report into alleged lockdown breaches in No 10 is expected to have been published.
Restrictions are set to be lifted – although mask rules may still stand – and an announcement could come in days, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“There frankly doesn’t seem to be any other expectation at the moment,” a source told the newspaper of the January 26 restrictions ending.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has reportedly already decided that Covid passes are no longer needed as cases have dropped from their record high.
A source said The temperature: “There has always been a very high threshold for politics and it seems increasingly likely that in a few weeks this threshold will not be reached.”
The Prime Minister is struggling to keep his job amid pressure from breaking lockdown rules in Downing Street.
He is said to be compiling a list of officials to resign over the partygate scandal in order to protect him.
Sources said The Independent his plan – named “Operation Save Big Dog” – will also be to draw attention to his accomplishments.
The Daily Telegraph reports that political allies at the heart of Mr Johnson’s 2019 campaigns to win the Tory leadership and the general election have been recruited to drum up support from Tory MPs.
It also reports that two sources said the Prime Minister spoke this week with Sir Lynton Crosby, the political strategist who helped him win the London mayoralty and the Tory leadership.
An announcement that lockdown restrictions are ending could distract from the publication of Sue Gray’s report in Westminster parties during multiple lockdowns.
Ministers spoke positively about the state of the pandemic in the UK as signs of relief from the Omicron surge began to appear.
The UK reported 99,652 new cases on Friday, down nearly 80,000 from the previous week. Mr Javid said ‘there are already early signs that the hospitalization rate is starting to slow’.
The Welsh government has already set out a plan to lift most restrictions over a two-week period amid declining cases.
And Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan has expressed hope that he can announce relaxations to coronavirus rules next week.
He said the most recent modeling information on the virus was “very encouraging”.