Lord Frost has called for a total re-think of Britain’s Covid strategy as he branded lockdowns ‘inhuman’ and ‘unaffordable’ and called for them to be ruled out in any future pandemic plans.
The former Brexit minister said Boris Johnson’s government must also end vaccine passports and masks, which he said ‘don’t work’ and are just part of a ‘Covid theatre’.
But the Oxford graduate and peer said he fears the embattled PM’s ‘very strong instincts for freedom’ are being ignored when it comes to tackling the pandemic, and suggested those surrounding the Conservative leader are letting him down.
It comes after he dramatically resigned from his cabinet post last month following the announcement that Britain would be adopting Plan B measures to fight a spike in Covid cases brought on by the Omicron variant.
The House of Lords peer, 56, told the Telegraph: ‘I didn’t agree with the Plan B measures such as masks and vaccine passports. And that’s why I resigned.’
He added: ‘People are going to look back at the last couple of years globally and see lockdown as a pretty serious public policy mistake.
Lord Frost (pictured) said Boris Johnson’s government must also end vaccine passports and masks, which he said ‘don’t work’ and are just part of a ‘Covid theatre’
The Oxford graduate and peer also said he fears the embattled PM’s ‘very strong instincts for freedom’ are being ignored when it comes to tackling the pandemic, and that those surrounding the Conservative leader are letting him down (Pictured: Boris Johnson during a constituency visit in December)
‘I’d like to see the Government ruling out lockdowns for the future, repealing the legislation, ending them – we can’t afford lockdowns and they don’t work.’
Lord Frost branded lockdowns ‘inhuman’ and accused Mr Johnson’s government of being ‘at fault in not acknowledging contrary evidence’ in its response to the pandemic.
‘There haven’t been enough internal debates, enough voices challenging the epidemiologists, emphasising the economy in an attempt to get to grips with the trade-offs,’ he claimed.
He added: ‘We need to stop doing Covid theatre – vaccine passports, masks, stuff that doesn’t work – and focus on what does work, such ventilation, antivirals, proper hospital capacity. That’s what we need to prioritise going forward.’
According to Lord Frost, Mr Johnson has ‘very strong’ instincts for freedom, but has not let them take enough rein while handling Covid.
However he argued that the Conservative leader ‘has not been well-served by everyone around him’, claiming he had often seen him ‘groping for information, and it not being there’.
He suggested the departure of former special advisor Dominic Cummings hurt the government.
‘I’m a huge admirer of Dom – I don’t agree with him on everything,’ Lord Frost said.
‘But I think his strategic brain, clarity of thought and ability to focus on goals was, and is, really important. He’s not the only person who can do that, but you do need someone to run the No 10 machine effectively, keeping everything in line, and it needs to be done all the time.’
It comes as Mr Johnson is currently fighting for his political survival amid the ongoing Partygate scandal.
It is understood that up to 30 letters of no-confidence have been submitted to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory MPs. If more than 15 per cent of the party’s MPs submit letters, there has to be a vote on the leadership.
Mr Johnson was forced to apologise to Parliament this week after a bombshell email revealed how his principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, had invited more than 100 staff to No10’s lavish gardens on May 20 to ‘make the most of the lovely weather’ – telling guests to bring their own alcohol.
The scandal reached new heights on Friday as it was claimed No10 hosted ‘wine-time Fridays’ every week throughout the pandemic, which Mr Johnson allegedly attended.
Staff even invested in a £142 drinks fridge to keep their beer, prosecco and wine cold, with the PM urging aides to ‘let off steam’ at a time when Britons were banned from socialising indoors, sources told The Mirror.
Lord Frost said people had a right to be angry over the scandal.
On the May 20 party he said: ‘I don’t know anything about the email or the party.
‘I was doing other things. But I totally get why the public is angry – they are right to be.’
Despite no longer a part of the PM’s cabinet, he toed the party line, adding: ‘Sue Gray [as Second Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet Office] is looking into this, and there couldn’t be a better person – we need to wait to see what she concludes.’
Sources say ministers do intend to scrap Covid passports and widespread WFH guidance in England when Plan B restrictions are reviewed at the end of the month, with the latest promising Covid data making the curbs ‘hard to justify’.
Daily UK Covid cases dropped below 100,000 for the first time in weeks on Friday as infections fell for the ninth day in a row — but SAGE modellers warned there could be an ‘exit wave’ this summer.
Figures released yesterday showed another 99,652 positive tests were logged in the previous 24 hours, according to Government dashboard data, marking a 44 per cent fall on the figure last week. Covid cases are now falling in every region of England and all four home nations in another sign that the Omicron wave is on its way out.
Daily hospitalisations have also remained flat with 2,423 new admissions on January 10, the latest date with data, down by less than a per cent on the previous week.
Another 99,652 Britons tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, according to Government dashboard data from Friday, marking a 44 per cent fall on the figure last week
Daily hospital admissions have also remained flat with 2,423 new admissions on January 10, the latest date with data, which was down by less than a per cent on the previous week
Daily Covid deaths — which are a lagging indicator — have been creeping up for several weeks.Another 270 were registered today in a 17 per cent weekly rise
However, deaths — which are the biggest lagging indicator — are creeping up. Another 270 were registered today in a 17 per cent rise compared to last Friday. But rising immunity means there are five times fewer fatalities now compared to the second wave last January, helped by the intrinsically milder Omicron variant.
Despite the encouraging data, official modelling made public yesterday warned there may be a massive rebound in Covid cases and hospitalisations this summer.
In a research paper submitted to No10’s scientific advisory group (SAGE) last week, the team at Warwick University projected up to 10,000 daily admissions in an absolute worst-case scenario.
The modellers admit that they cannot predict the summer wave ‘with any certainty’, but they are confident there will be a resurgence between May and July ‘due to increased mixing and waning vaccine immunity’.
They add: ‘Precise timing and magnitude of this exit wave is highly dependent on both population behaviour and the scale of the current wave and cannot be predicted with any certainty.’