When Sajid Javid became health secretary in June, he said: “My task is to help return the economic and cultural life that makes this country so great – while of course protecting life and our NHS.” It sounded like a deliberate attempt to shift policy away from restrictions after Matt Hancock, his predecessor, usually found himself on the other end of the rolling debate at the highest level of government.
Yet Mr Javid and his ministerial colleagues found themselves driven by the logic of the response to a changing Covid-19 situation to impose new restrictions before Christmas, provoking a rebellion by 101 Conservative MPs.
Now Mr Javid sounds as if he is trying to appease that wing of his party again, saying that England had “welcomed in 2022 with some of the least restrictive measures in Europe”, and that “curbs on our freedom must be an absolute last resort”.
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