Pubs, shops and small businesses warn the threat of Boris Johnson’s winter Plan B for Covid


Pubs, shops and small businesses have blasted Boris Johnson’s ‘Plan B’ to deal with the coronavirus pandemic over the winter.

Experts said a return to working from home would cripple the economy and would come at the worst possible time when companies are getting back on their feet.

They welcomed Plan A of the document the PM outlined this evening but warned the alternative would have ‘significant and drastic impacts’.

Mr Johnson appealed to the five million people who have not taken up the offer of a Covid vaccine to get the jab in an effort to avoid tougher restrictions over the winter.

His chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said getting vaccination levels up was the key to maintaining lighter controls.

Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty launched a stinging attack on people who deliberately peddled ‘myths’ about the supposed dangers of the jab.

Earlier, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed all over-50s in the UK – as well as those in other vulnerable groups – would would be offered a booster shot.

Experts said a return to working from home would cripple the economy and would come at the worst possible time when companies are getting back on their feet

Experts said a return to working from home would cripple the economy and would come at the worst possible time when companies are getting back on their feet

They welcomed Plan A of the Winter Plan document he outlined this evening but warned the alternative would have 'significant and drastic impacts'

They welcomed Plan A of the Winter Plan document he outlined this evening but warned the alternative would have ‘significant and drastic impacts’

But as soon as the Downing Street press conference ended, business leaders were quick to slam the PM’s Plan B for the winter.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘It’s critical for the recovery of the hospitality sector and the wider economy that businesses are allowed to continue to operate in viable conditions throughout this winter.

‘Hospitality venues are still in a fragile state with significant debts, making their first steps on the road to recovery and rebuilding broken balance sheets, any setbacks over the coming months will result in more businesses closures.

‘The announcement from the Secretary of State, the continued focus on vaccination roll out and boosters, is much welcome, as their success has been critical to protecting our healthcare system while allowing for the reopening of the economy and businesses to trade without restrictions.

‘However, we must caution Government that the introduction of those measures that are left in reserve for this winter, would have significant and drastic impacts on the sector.

‘The use of vaccine passports, logistically unworkable and with questionable effectiveness, will have a devastating effect on nightclubs and large-scale events.

‘These sectors have been hit hardest and have been at the very back of the queue for reopening and such measures would severely undermine their profitability and ability to recover over the winter months.

‘Similarly, work from home orders or guidance would have a significant impact on our city and town centres, not only damaged by restrictions and enforced closures but also significantly reduced footfall.’

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, one of the UK’s largest providers of small business insurance, said: ‘Small business owners will be breathing a sigh of relief knowing the Prime Minister is looking to avoid any further lockdowns.

‘Another lockdown would have a devastating impact on small businesses. Half (48 per cent) of all owners live in fear of future restrictions, and thousands would be put out of business – with almost one in six (15 per cent) saying they’d have to cease trading altogether if we were placed into another lockdown.

‘Few have been hit harder by the pandemic than SMEs, who have already lost a staggering £126.6billion.

‘This financial loss is devastating to both the livelihoods and families of small business owners, but it also represents a huge blow to the UK economy – SMEs make up 99 per cent of all UK businesses and contribute trillions of pounds a year in turnover.

‘Small businesses are crucial to our collective recovery, and the government must do what they can to support them – avoiding another lockdown will be central to helping the self-employed bounce back.’

Fronting a press conference alongside Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the PM insisted that the UK was ‘incomparably’ better placed to deal with the disease this year

Javid slams GPs for failing to see patients face to face amid pandemic  

Sajid Javid today took aim at GPs for not doing face-to-face appointments.

The Health Secretary delivered a warning that the government ‘do a lot more’ to ensure doctors go back to seeing patients in person.

The comments came after Conservative MP Dean Russell raised concerns over some GP surgeries in his Watford constituency ‘still not opening their doors’ to see patients.

 ‘Does he agree with me that we should encourage those GP surgeries to start opening up to help with the backlog and help see people face-to-face?’

Mr Javid replied: ‘Yes, I agree with (Mr Russell). He’s right to raise this.

‘I think everyone can understand why during the height of the pandemic that GPs couldn’t provide access in the normal way.

‘But we’re way past that now, life is starting to return almost back to completely normal and as that is happening it should be happening in our GP surgeries too, and more GPs should be offering face-to-face access.

‘We intend to do a lot more about it.’ 

Alastair Kerr from the Campaign for Pubs panned the idea and said Plan B would wreak the industry, adding: ‘It is clear the ‘Plan B’ option suggested by the PM today would be damaging for the hospitality sector across the UK.

‘The hospitality sector has suffered greatly from the economic restrictions imposed over the last year during the pandemic and it is simply unfeasible to suggest that our industry could take anymore.’

He added: ‘Pubs and the wider hospitality industry has taken great steps over the past year in making their premises secure.

‘It is disappointing that the Government is suggesting imposing damaging trading restrictions including the potential return of Vaccine Passports, when they have over the past couple of days have said they wouldn’t.

‘We hope that no unfair restrictions will be placed on an already struggling sector, which needs all the support at the moment.’

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: ‘It is very welcome news for our sector that powers to close-down or apply restrictions to our pubs will be repealed.

‘Forced closure during lockdowns and unnecessary restrictions such as the 10pm curfew, rule of six and substantial meals rule have greatly damaged our sector.

‘Publicans across the country will sigh in relief knowing they have stability to keep trading over the winter months.

‘We also urge the devolved administrations to follow the approach that has been outlined today.

‘Of course, ‘Plan B’ measures suggesting working from home are concerning as they would impact the recovery of our sector – particularly city centre pubs – if implemented.

‘It is also vital covid certification continues to be ruled out for pubs under any future plans.’

Chairman of the Local Government Association Cllr James Jamieson added: ‘Covid-19 remains a serious public health threat and protecting our older and most vulnerable people is councils’ number one priority, especially as we head into what will be a challenging autumn and winter.

‘This plan could help see us through this difficult period, with contingency measures in place to help prevent the NHS from coming under unsustainable pressure.

‘It will be vital that Directors of Public Health, working in councils, should also have all the support and tools they need to respond to any local outbreaks.

‘Councils stand ready to support the NHS in the roll out of a booster vaccination programme, including using their unique local knowledge to help contact and prioritise all those who are eligible.

‘This should include making it as convenient as possible to receive a jab, such as at walk-in clinics and mass vaccination centres, in addition to GP surgeries.

‘These arrangements should be rolled out to also ensure people can receive their flu jabs at the same time, to maximise uptake and provide the best possible protection.’ 

Mr Johnson’s top medical and scientific advisers warned ‘winter is coming’ and he might need to ‘go early and go hard’ with restrictions.

Meanwhile the PM said compulsory masks and Covid passports are being ‘kept in reserve’ if booster jabs and vaccines for schoolchildren fails to keep the disease under control.

Fronting a press conference alongside Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the PM insisted that the UK was ‘incomparably’ better placed to deal with the disease this year.

He said he hoped the situation could be kept stable with more jabs and the public behaving sensibly – although ministers have made clear another lockdown cannot be completely ruled out as a ‘last resort’. 

But Prof Whitty gave a more downbeat assessment, invoking the famous mantra from hit TV show Game of Thrones  by warning that ‘winter is coming’. He said that infections were ‘high’ relative to last year, and the NHS was under ‘extreme pressure’ even though vaccines were helping significantly. 

Meanwhile, Sir Patrick seemed to send a thinly-veiled message to Mr Johnson by saying that when it comes to measures to stem cases the lesson was ‘you have to go earlier than you want to, you have to go harder than you want to’. 

The premier was addressing the nation just hours after it emerged his mother had died, and thanked people for their condolences.  

But his winter plan has alarmed businesses and enraged Tory MPs, who heckled Sajid Javid in the Commons as he said it includes the ‘Plan B’ of making masks compulsory ‘in certain settings’, more working from home and social distancing if the NHS is under threat. 

Vaccine passports will stay on the table and could be introduced in England with a week’s notice, even though they will not go ahead from next month as originally intended.

There was a boost for Mr Johnson this evening as cases fell 30 per cent week on week to 26,628 and deaths dropped 12 per cent to to 185 – although hospitalisations were up 2 per cent. 

Despite the tough messaging on the need to be cautious, ministers packed into the Cabinet room this morning with no masks as they were briefed on the contents of the plan. 

At his press conference in Downing Street, Mr Johnson insisted less drastic changes could control the outbreaks this time.

‘When you’ve got a large proportion, as we have now, with immunity, then smaller changes can make a bigger difference and give us the confidence that we don’t have to go back to the lockdowns of the past,’ he said.

He added: ‘In the meantime, we are confident in the vaccines that have made such a difference to our lives.’

Prof Whitty said the data showed someone in their 30s and unvaccinated was running the same risk as someone in their 70s who is vaccinated. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is set to provide an update on international travel ahead of the formal review point on October 1 – with hopes he will scrap the traffic light system and announce PCR tests are being phased out.  He is expected to say fully-jabbed holidaymakers will be able to rely on lateral flow versions instead.

But as well as making their views obvious about the return of masks, Tory MPs demanded the government gives up more powers to impose restrictions on liberties.     

There is also a widening split between the approach in England and Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon  is bringing in Covid passports for nightclubs and large events.

The SNP leader also says school pupils will need to wear face coverings indoors until at least the October holidays, and large in-person lectures will not be happening at universities. 

Mr Johnson was joined by England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty (pictured far left), and the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance (pictured middle), at the press conference this afternoon

Mr Johnson was joined by England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty (pictured far left), and the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance (pictured middle), at the press conference this afternoon

Sir Patrick said the UK is at a ‘pivot point’ in the pandemic and if the situation worsens quickly then ministers must ‘go early’.

The chief scientific adviser said: ‘If you look across the Channel, countries where you’ve got similar levels of immunity and some higher degrees of restrictions, what you can see is cases are going down.

‘So, you can see we’re sort of at that pivot point where things are flattish at the moment.

‘If they go up quickly then, as I’ve said, you’ve got to go early in terms of getting on top of it – you can’t wait until it’s late because you’ve got to do more.’

Prof Whitty said: ‘We’re entering the autumn and winter period at a much higher level in terms of the number of cases, in terms of number of hospitalisations, in terms of number of deaths than we were this time last year.’

He said people do not need a medical degree to know that autumn and winter is a time when respiratory viruses, such as flu and others, are ‘hugely advantaged’.

He added: ‘If you’ve not had your vaccination, now is a very good time to do so.’

Prof Whitty said Public Health England data shows in every age bracket there is a ‘very substantially smaller’ risk of being admitted to hospital with Covid if someone is vaccinated compared to those who are not jabbed.

‘If you just do a very crude look at the numbers, someone who is in their 30s and unvaccinated is running about the same risk as someone in their 70s who is vaccinated. It’s that level of difference,’ he said.

‘One of the most depressing things for doctors, including myself, is talking to people who have just chosen not to get vaccinated because it wasn’t convenient at that particular moment and you see them being wheeled down to intensive care, and you know this was a very serious problem as a result of them not being vaccinated.’

He said people must encourage ‘everybody we know to get vaccinated’ and that for most people it is not that they are anti-vaccination, but rather they just have not got around to doing it.

He added: ‘We’re about to enter winter. Winter is coming and people really should take this seriously.’

The Winter Plan document lays out the details of Plan A and Plan B. But although it does not go into detail about other contingencies, it states that further steps cannot be ruled out. 

‘While the Government expects that, with strong engagement from the public and businesses, these contingency measures should be sufficient to reverse a resurgence in autumn or winter, the nature of the virus means it is not possible to give guarantees,’  the document said.

‘The Government remains committed to taking whatever action is necessary to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed but more harmful economic and social restrictions would only be considered as a last resort.’ 

Mr Javid said the package is designed to give the ‘best possible chance’ of avoiding harsher restrictions, but he said that in a situation such as the emergence of an ‘escape variant’ the government would go further. 

‘Any responsible government must prepare for all eventualities,’ he said, adding that he was determined to ‘protect the progress’ that had been made. 

‘The plan shows how we’ll give this nation the best possible chance of living with Covid without the need for stringent social and economic restrictions,’ the Cabinet minister said. 

He said it is ‘highly likely’ that frontline NHS staff and those in wider social care settings will need to have Covid-19 and flu vaccinations in order to be deployed. 

Former minister Sir Desmond Swayne, who was among those protesting when Mr Javid threatened mandatory face coverings, urged the Government to review the 1984 Public Health Act used to ‘take away our liberties’.

‘He retains all the powers of the 1984 Public Health Act, which we used to take away our liberties without parliamentary prior authority,’ Sir Desmond said.

‘Will he undertake to review and give us a new Public Health Act?’

Ministers were packed in the Cabinet room this morning with no masks as they were briefed on the contents of the plan

Ministers were packed in the Cabinet room this morning with no masks as they were briefed on the contents of the plan

Sajid Javid made clear another lockdown cannot be completely ruled out today as he unveiled the government's 'winter plan' - admitting that ministers can only give Britons the 'best possible chance' of avoiding brutal curbs

Sajid Javid made clear another lockdown cannot be completely ruled out today as he unveiled the government’s ‘winter plan’ – admitting that ministers can only give Britons the ‘best possible chance’ of avoiding brutal curbs

Mr Johnson (right), Patrick Vallance (centre) and Chris Whitty (left) leave No10 for the press conference at No9 today

Mr Johnson (right), Patrick Vallance (centre) and Chris Whitty (left) leave No10 for the press conference at No9 today 

ALL over-50s will get booster Covid jabs: 32m Brits will be offered Pfizer or Moderna as health chiefs sign off on rollout 

A mass Covid booster vaccine campaign for tens of millions of Britons will be launched next week in a race to avoid a winter lockdown, it was announced today.

The Government’s vaccine advisory panel finally signed off on the plans after weeks of deliberation, with third doses now being recommended for roughly 32million over-50s, as well as frontline health and care workers.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told a Downing Street press conference that the booster programme would provide ‘very good’ immunity and help ‘keep the lid on’ the epidemic this winter.

The NHS will start inviting eligible Britons from next week. People are only being invited to come forward if they had their second injection at least six months ago, which officials said was the ‘sweet spot’ for boosters.

Third doses will be rolled out to the top nine priority groups who were first in line during the initial Covid vaccination programme, with the elderly and vulnerable first in line.

It took about four months to cover those groups with a first dose earlier this year, but officials expect the booster scheme to quicker now because the infrastructure and expertise is already in place.

Members of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) approved the plans on the back of growing real-world data in Israel and elsewhere, as well as a major British study, which showed vaccine-induced immunity wanes slightly within months.

Britons who are eligible will be given the Pfizer vaccine in the first instance, no matter which jab they were originally immunised with. When there are supply constraints, the Moderna vaccine will be offered as a booster, but only as a half dose.

Officials said there was more evidence that the mRNA vaccines were safe and effective when given as a third dose, which is why they are not recommending AstraZeneca’s. Moderna’s is being given as a half dose because the lower dosage is associated with fewer side effects and still produces a strong immune response, the JCVI said.

The announcement comes ahead of what is widely accepted will be a challenging winter for the NHS with an unusually low amount of natural immunity to flu and other respiratory viruses due to more than a year of social restrictions.

Mr Javid replied: ‘We keep all rules and acts under review at all times.’ 

Conservative Steve Baker noted the public health powers ‘are still there’, as he asked: ‘(He) amongst other things is keeping Covid-status certification in reserve, he’s leaving mass asymptomatic testing in place together with contact tracing…the public health powers are still there of course allowing him to lock us down at the stroke of his pen without prior votes or any formal way of justifying the proportionality of those powers.

‘So when can we expect all of these things to be dealt with so that we can all have the certainty that will come from knowing that we’re living with an endemic disease, living with the disease thanks to the vaccine in the way that we live with the endemic disease flu so that we can all get on with our lives.’

Mr Javid replied: ‘I know (he) may not agree with every measure that the Government is keeping in place… I hope he agrees that at least those measures are the right measures and the kind of things that need to be done as we live with Covid-19.’

Downing Street has refused to give any indication of what metric will be used to trigger restrictions in the plan. 

‘As we did with the road map, we never looked to one single metric to decide when to act,’ the PM’s spokesman said.

‘It is important to take a holistic approach and consider a range of data.

‘Obviously the number of patients in hospital is an important factor, as is the interaction with other indicators, such as the rate of increase in hospitalisations, things like the ratio of cases to hospitalisations, and the trajectory of new cases.

‘All of those sort of things would need to be factored in alongside vaccine effectiveness, waning immunity, etc.

‘It is right to look at a range of metrics and not be overly prescriptive and consider the latest advice we are getting from experts, like Professor Whitty and others.’

Ministers yesterday accepted the chief medical officer’s advice that children aged 12 to 15 should be offered doses.

Secondary pupils are to be offered jabs at school from next week, despite concerns that the move could stigmatise those who refuse and lead to ‘bullying’.

Mr Zahawi confirmed this morning that 12-year-olds will be able to override their parents’ wishes in some circumstances, although he insisted it is likely to be a ‘very rare occurence’. 

Government scientists today also gave the green light for booster shots for the over-50s, starting this month.

The vaccine advisory panel recommended a third dose for roughly 30million people aged 50 and over who received their second injection at least six months ago.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told a Downing Street press conference that the jabs would help ‘keep the lid on’ the virus and make it more likely the country could have a normal winter.

Members of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) approved the plans on the back of growing real-world data in Israel and elsewhere, as well as a major British study, which suggested vaccine-induced immunity wanes within months.

There had been mounting pressure for the UK to follow Israel, the US, and other nations which have been booster dosing their citizens for months.

Britons who are eligible will be given the Pfizer vaccine in the first instance, no matter which jab they were originally immunised with. When there are supply constraints, the Moderna vaccine will be offered as a booster in the form of a half dose. 

Earlier this month the JCVI said it could not recommend Covid jabs for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds because the direct benefit to their health was only marginal. It also looked at the risk of health inflammation - known as myocarditis - in young people given the Pfizer vaccine, which was still very small but slightly more common after a second dose

Earlier this month the JCVI said it could not recommend Covid jabs for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds because the direct benefit to their health was only marginal. It also looked at the risk of health inflammation – known as myocarditis – in young people given the Pfizer vaccine, which was still very small but slightly more common after a second dose

Around 3million under-16s are due to start getting their jabs from next week after Chris Whitty endorsed the move last night claiming it would help prevent outbreaks in classrooms and further disruptions to education this winter. Professor Whitty held a press conference with JCVI chief Professor Wei Shen Lim (left) and MHRA boss Dr June Raine

Around 3million under-16s are due to start getting their jabs from next week after Chris Whitty endorsed the move last night claiming it would help prevent outbreaks in classrooms and further disruptions to education this winter. Professor Whitty held a press conference with JCVI chief Professor Wei Shen Lim (left) and MHRA boss Dr June Raine

The CMOs admitted the rollout will likely only stop about 30,000 infections among 12 to 15-year-olds between now and March. But the vaccines will prevent tens of thousands more from having to self-isolate and miss school as a result, they claim. Modelling of the winter term estimated that without the vaccines there could be about 89,000 infections among 12 to 15-year-olds, compared to 59,000 with the rollout. Without vaccination they warn of 320,000 school absences by March, whereas this could be reduced to 220,000 with the jabs

Plans to vaccinate under-16s descend into chaos 

Plans to vaccinate all over-12s across the UK descended into further confusion and controversy today as Britain’s vaccines minister admitted Year 7 children could ignore their parents’ wishes — while Tory MPs warned the jab policy will ‘tear families apart’.

A gloomy Chris Whitty warned yesterday that schools faced another winter of disruption and advised those aged 12 to 15 should be offered single doses of Pfizer’s jab from next week. No10’s vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS was ready to begin inoculations from next Wednesday.

There are concerns that while parental consent will be sought, it will not be needed if the healthcare worker administering the jab considers the child is competent to make the decision themselves.

Today Mr Zahawi admitted that 12-year-olds will be able to override their parents’ wishes on Covid jabs but he admitted it is likely to be ‘a very rare occurrence’. He also said parents shouldn’t be ‘stigmatised’ if they are hesitant about their children being vaccinated, given that top advisers insisted the benefits only marginally outweighed the risks.

But in more confusion, a senior member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Professor Anthony Harnden, suggested there would be a sliding scale of competency, meaning that it would be easier for a 16-year-old to overrule a parent than for a 12-year-old who is ‘less likely to be deemed competent’ under the ‘Gillick test’, which has been in place for the medical treatment of minors since the 1980s.

Cotswolds Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told MPs he finds Covid jabs for secondary school children — and the rows it will cause — ‘deeply troubling’.

He said: ‘It will pit parents against parents. Parents against teachers with a poor child stuck in the middle wondering what to do, for very little benefit for the child themselves, with a lack of long-term data of the potential harm.

‘And, above all, what really concerns me about this is the Gillick doctrine of treating children without parental consent will become the norm for a whole range of medical procedures.’

Fellow Tory MP Marcus Fysh has claimed it is a ‘very dark day for our country’ while Ian Duncan Smith said he is sure the vaccines diktat will cause disputes within families after Mr Zahawi confirmed the plans to offer a single Pfizer jab to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds during a speech to the House of Commons last night.

Officials said there was more evidence that the mRNA vaccines were safe and effective when given as a third dose, which is why they are not recommending AstraZeneca’s.

Moderna’s is being recommended as a half dose because the lower dosage is associated with fewer side effects and still produces a strong immune response, the JCVI said.

People who are invited for their booster Covid vaccine will be able to get their flu jab at the same time, in the opposite arm.

Professor Van-Tam said that as a 57-year-old healthcare worker, who will be eligible for a booster vaccine, he would be ‘content’ with getting a full Pfizer or half Moderna dose.

Downing Street has been relatively relaxed about high infection levels, pointing out that the average of 30,000 a day is well below the 100,000 predicted by some in July. 

But they are increasingly concerned by rising hospital admissions. Another 1,000 were recorded yesterday and the total in hospital stands at 8,256 – a 37 per cent increase over the past month.

Pressure on other NHS services is expected to start to become intense if the total hits 10,000.

Professor Ravi Gupta, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said current data suggest that ‘we’re not out of the woods’ and the Covid-19 figures ‘do not bode well for winter’.

He told Sky News: ‘We can see from the figures that we’re still nearing a thousand deaths a week and thousands of hospitalised patients that are challenging capacity in our hospitals – and of course making care for non-Covid patients extremely difficult as well because of the stretch of the staff that are in those hospitals who have been under pressure for 18 months now.

‘So it’s pretty clear I think, from the data and from individual sources, that we’re not out of the woods and it doesn’t bode well for going into winter at all.’

He added: ‘If we cast our minds back to July 19, many scientists including myself, were saying that ‘we need to take this slowly because we have the transmission rates are far too high to be removing all restrictions, and this will have a knock on effect – in other words we wouldn’t get away with this as a country moving into winter’.

‘And what we’re seeing now is really the result of that advice not being heeded and now we’re in a position where we’re talking about lockdowns again.

‘So I think that with the correct planning, this could have been avoided.’

Whitehall exercises conducted over the summer warned that schools and care homes, as well as the NHS, are both vulnerable to a surge in cases this autumn. 

Today Mr Zahawi admitted that 12-year-olds will be able to override their parents’ wishes on Covid jabs but he admitted it is likely to be ‘a very rare occurrence’. 

He also said parents shouldn’t be ‘stigmatised’ if they are hesitant about their children being vaccinated, given that top advisers insisted the benefits only marginally outweighed the risks.

But in more confusion, a senior member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Professor Anthony Harnden, suggested there would be a sliding scale of competency

That means it would be easier for a 16-year-old to overrule a parent than for a 12-year-old who is ‘less likely to be deemed competent’ under the ‘Gillick test’, which has been in place for the medical treatment of minors since the 1980s.

Cotswolds Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told MPs he finds Covid jabs for secondary school children — and the rows it will cause — ‘deeply troubling’.

He said: ‘It will pit parents against parents. Parents against teachers with a poor child stuck in the middle wondering what to do, for very little benefit for the child themselves, with a lack of long-term data of the potential harm.

‘And, above all, what really concerns me about this is the Gillick doctrine of treating children without parental consent will become the norm for a whole range of medical procedures.’

Fellow Tory MP Marcus Fysh has claimed it is a ‘very dark day for our country’ while Ian Duncan Smith said he is sure the vaccines diktat will cause disputes within families after Mr Zahawi confirmed the plans to offer a single Pfizer jab to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds during a speech to the House of Commons last night.



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