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Boris Johnson's roadmap went down well with Tory MPs, but they won't leave him alone for long

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22.02.2021

Ahead of Boris Johnson’s roadmap announcement, Tory MPs had grown increasingly nervous that the goalposts had moved. They complained that scientists had the Prime Minister’s ear and had set the narrative for an overly cautious lockdown easing. Some went so far as to say that No. 10 was being pushed towards a zero-Covid policy – under which the government would try to eradicate infections altogether.

In reality, Johnson sought to avoid either extreme. Speaking in the Chamber, he tried to portray himself as the pragmatist – charting a cautious path somewhere between an elimination policy and a “big bang” reopening. In doing so, neither side got exactly what they wanted – but each banked several wins.

The scientific advisers can take comfort in the five week gap between each of the four stages of reopening – allowing the government to study the data and impact of each easing. Meanwhile, for Tory MPs the........

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