Ed Davey: Johnson’s refusal to self isolate “Barnard Castle on steroids”

Boris Johnson’s blatant avoidance of self isolation as a staffer who tested positive for Covid further undermines confidence in this Government.

I feel sorry for anyone who has to be around him over the next few days. He could pass a potentially deadly virus on to them or ultimately their vulnerable relatives. It is an anxious time for them.

The Guardian has the story and Ed Davey’s reacton:

The group were tested upon landing, and the official’s result was positive so they went into isolation. Some whose result came back negative were told to make their own way home, while others, including Johnson, finished the tour. The prime minister was then pictured meeting the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, the Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross, and the Conservative MP Andrew Bowie.

Johnson and several members of the No 10 contingent are not isolating – but a government source said “the whole lot should be”. The Downing Street spokesperson also refused to say if he had been tested since the positive case was discovered.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, also called on Johnson to confirm he had not been asked to isolate again. Referring to the excuse Dominic Cummings used for breaking lockdown rules last spring, Davey said of the prime minister: “If it turns out he has scorned his own government’s policy on self-isolation again, the public reaction will be Barnard Castle on steroids.”

This is the second time in 3 weeks that the PM has tried to get away with not isolating after being in contact with someone who has tested positive. It’s not acceptable. If anyone becomes ill as a result of his behaviour, then he will have to take responsibility.

This comes close on the heels of the story about Alok Sharma, our climate change minister, dotting back and forth around red list countries and not quarantining despite being in risky situations of indoor mixing.

Christine Jardine was unimpressed:

This lot may appear like nothing can get them, but the tide on these things can turn very quickly. We really shouldn’t be happy with a government that has as dodgy a record on ethical processes as this lot have, whether it’s awarding government contracts to friends and family of ministers to flouting rules that the rest of us have to deal with – and which are in place to keep us safe.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Barry Lofty 7th Aug '21 - 10:56am

    It is good job Johnson continually wears a hi viz jacket on his permanent daily self promotion tour of the country, at least we can see him from a distance and be able to keep well away from him?

  • Brad Barrows 7th Aug '21 - 11:29am

    Now we know why Johnson did not want to visit Nicola Sturgeon…imagine the fall out if he ended up giving her covid because he was not self-isolating when he should…

  • Jenny Barnes 7th Aug '21 - 11:39am

    There are people who believe thay have the right to make the laws which should not constrain themselves and the rest who don’t make the laws but are constrained by them.

  • Jason Conner 7th Aug '21 - 4:58pm

    Yes but my answer to that is two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • This is indeed part of an ongoing narrative of the Prime Minister refusing to act responsibly.
    I believe that most people will in fact remember this and would like to see the country run by someone more responsible.
    However I suggest two things are needed as far as political parties are concerned.
    The first is both to remind people of the story of irresponsibility and to weave it into comments on the country’s problems.
    The importance of this repetition was taught to me at an early stage. In the years of the Labour government after 1945, they decided to try to grow groundnuts in Tanganyika both to help the U.K. and provide development in Africa. My knowledge though came from political discussion on the wireless. I did not really understand anything about the groundnuts scheme, but did notice that the Tory on the programme always seemed to work in “what about the money wasted by the Labour government on the groundnuts scheme?” I gathered that it had been a fiasco, and still remember the comments. I today know more thanks to reading what Wikipedia has to say about it. The present government is in chaos. The party must say so – with examples – not by long articles but by keeping on repeating the fact of irresponsibility, while having examples to use when needed.
    The second issue of course is to convince people that we would do better. We owe this to the country because if we do not convince enough people we will have an ever more weakening of democracy and the seemingly inevitable coming of an individual who, having gained power, refuses to let go.

  • David Goble 8th Aug '21 - 10:02am

    Boris Johnson? Take responsibility? Never!

    Johnson’s whole life has been based on avoiding responsibility or culpability for his actions. As a journalist, he merely wrote what his target audience wanted to read. He is following the same route as Prime Minister; he says what people want to hear and ignores facts, truth and anything else that might cause him inconvenience!

  • Helen Dudden 9th Aug '21 - 8:52am

    This government constantly changes on the goal posts.
    Holidays are OK then the isolation creeps in and at times it costs dearly to those who have travelled.
    The rise in electricity prices and cuts in One Benefit.
    As LibDems we should be addressing these issues with concerns.

  • If this line of attack was going to work it would have done so by now, it’s not as if Borris was an unknown even before he became prime minister. The party needs to concentrate on convincing people that they have better ideas and life under the progressives will not simply be boring, miserable and very expensive, which is what comes across most of the time.

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