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25 May 2020

Daily briefing with Boris Johnson and Yvonne Doyle – 'I do not believe that anybody in Number 10 has done anything to undermine our messaging'


Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech includes these key points, beginning with an update on the latest data. He repeats ‘step 1’ of the plan to lift restrictions introduced 2 weeks ago. A formal assessment of the five tests for adjusting the lockdown will be set out later in the week as part of the 3-weekly review required by law, but he can 'with confidence, put the British people on notice of the changes we intend to introduce as we move into step 2'. Johnson repeats measures outlined the day before (24 May 2020) on reopening nurseries and primary schools. Today, he is setting out intentions to reopen shops: allowing outdoor markets and car showrooms to reopen from 1 June 2020, all other non-essential retail (department stores to small independent shops) will be allowed to reopen from 15 June. This is contingent on progress against the five tests and only for premises that are COVID-19 secure. New guidance for the retail sector is being published today on measures they should take before reopening: 'This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take.' Boris Johnson adds that 'the vast majority' of businesses will want to do everything they can to protect staff and customers, but where required, the government has the powers to enforce compliance.

These key points are made in the Q&A, where all questions from the media focus on Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's chief adviser, and his statement earlier in the day. Responding to these, Boris Johnson repeats several previous comments made on the subject. Answering a question about whether he has any regrets, he says he regrets 'the confusion and the anger and the pain' that people feel. He wanted people to understand what had happened and thought it was important that he tried to explain his version of what he had heard from Dominic Cummings. In response to other questions, he says Dominic Cummings has 'just subjected himself to your interrogation for quite a long time now about these very detailed matters' and it would be wrong to comment further. In a later question Johnson says 'People will have to make up their own minds' but that it is 'absolutely vital' that people continue to observe the government’s public health message and the guidelines. He says one thing in danger of getting lost in much of this is to wash your hands and they will repeat that message throughout this crisis. Responding to another question, he says that, 'I can’t give any unconditional backing to anybody, but I do not believe that anybody in Number 10 has done anything to undermine our messaging.'


Gov.uk speech