One British cabinet minister has proposed a French-style ‘permission slip’ policy in an extreme crackdown on people violating the UK lockdown measures. The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson told the BBC’s Chris Mason that the cabinet was split over whether the lockdown should be loosened or tightened further. Divisions in the cabinet are mounting since Boris Johnson’s absence following his stay in intensive care this week.
Speaking to Mason on the BBC’s World at One, Nelson said: “The cabinet is split into three groups for the lockdowns.
“One group thought the lockdown should be tightened. One cabinet minister even proposed following France in asking people to carry documents with them when they go outside.”
In France, people need to fill out a permission form every time they leave their home.
Police patrolling the streets can fine people between £120 and £175 if they are caught outside without the necessary documents.
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Fraser Nelson wrote in the Telegraph: “Some think the lockdown is, if anything, too lax. One minister has even proposed adopting a French-style system, demanding that no one steps outside without papers authorising them to do so.
“Then we have those who think the cure is already worse than the disease and want to phase out lockdown at the earliest opportunity.
“Then a third group, who think it doesn’t matter what government thinks. Public opinion, they argue, led us into the lockdown so only public opinion can lead us out.
“The trick is to be ready to seize the moment when it comes.”
A Downing Street spokesman tried to downplay this figure, but refused to deny it, saying: “It is not a number that I have ever seen.”
Earlier today Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted that Britain has not yet reached the COVID-19 peak, which would allow for an easing of lockdown restrictions.
The death toll in British hospitals has reached almost 9,000, with 980 more deaths reported on Friday.
The latest figure surpassed the worst days experienced in Spain and Italy, the countries worst hit by the virus.