Nicola Sturgeon trolls Boris Johnson over SAGE spat

Nicola Sturgeon trolls Boris over SAGE spat boasting her ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown is ‘rooted in scientific advice’ and warning that ‘half-measures’ don’t work against virus

  • Nicola Sturgeon boasted that her ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown is backed by SAGE 
  • First Minister swiped at ‘half measures’ after PM unveiled local lockdown plan
  • Boris Johnson facing public clash with science advisers over his new approach 

Nicola Sturgeon trolled Boris Johnson over his extraordinary spat with SAGE today, boasting that her ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown is ‘rooted in scientific advice’.

The Scottish First Minister hailed bombshell minutes showing the PM has been defying the government’s own experts for weeks.

And she warned that although her dramatic two-week squeeze on pubs and households mixing was ‘tough’, it was not enough to take ‘half-measures’.

The intervention came as ministers admitted lockdown in England will ‘probably’ need to get harsher than the three-tier curbs unveiled yesterday. 

Only Merseyside was placed into the harshest category that will see pubs and bars shut, while some areas actually saw restrictions eased.

At her daily briefing today, Nicola Sturgeon hailed bombshell ministers showing the PM has been defying the government’s own experts for weeks

Mr Johnson (pictured in Downing Street with Rishi Sunak today) has defiantly insisted that he has no intention of imposing a UK-wide squeeze that would ‘shatter’ the economy

Under the restrictions in Scotland, bars across the nation are banned from selling alcohol indoors and have to close by 6pm, and in much of the central belt they have been forced to shut altogether. 

Mr Johnson defiantly insisted at a No10 press conference last night that he had no intention of imposing a UK-wide squeeze that would ‘shatter’ the economy. 

But within hours, the minutes of a SAGE meeting from September 21 had revealed that is exactly what the key group was suggesting.

It presented a shortlist of options including banning all indoor contact between households, closing bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, and hairdressers.

At the top of the list was the recommendation for a two or three week lockdown with draconian measures similar to those imposed earlier in the pandemic.

At her daily briefing in Edinburgh this afternoon, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘As you will see from the SAGE advice that was published last night the actions the Scottish government is taking right now are firmly rooted in scientific advice.’ 

She stressed that governments were trying to strike a ‘balance’ and would not always reach the same conclusions.

But she went on: ‘Against his virus we sometimes have to be tough…

‘Half measures often don’t work. What you find is they still inflict economic pain and harm but don’t have the required public health impact.’ 

It presented a shortlist of options including banning all indoor contact between households, closing bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, and hairdressers.

At the top of the list was the recommendation for a two or three week lockdown with draconian measures similar to those imposed earlier in the pandemic.

‘If this were as strict and well-adhered to as the restrictions in late May, this could put the epidemic back by approximately 28 days or more,’ the dossier said. 

The SAGE paper praised the idea of a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown, saying: ‘If this were as strict and well-adhered to as the restrictions in late May, this could put the epidemic back by approximately 28 days or more.’ 

A rift had been on show at the Downing Street briefing, when chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned that the toughest Tier Three curbs in the new regime would not be ‘sufficient’ to control the virus.

He urged local authorities to use the ‘flexibility’ in the arrangements to impose even harsher measures. 

Labour accused the Government of flouting its own mantra of ‘following the science’, while SAGE members broke cover to complain the new restrictions had come too late. 

But in a round of interviews this morning, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said ministers had to strike a ‘balance’. ‘We probably will need to go further,’ he said. ‘But we want to design these steps jointly between ourselves and local government.’    

A rift was on show at the Downing Street briefing, when chief medical officer Chris Whitty (pictured) warned that the toughest Tier Three curbs in the new regime would not be ‘sufficient’ to control the virus

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