‘The public has to accept some responsibility for lockdowns’, says senior Tory MP

For Sir Charles Walker, there’s an uncomfortable aspect of the pandemic policies he railed against throughout much of the last eleven months: the support they had from the public. 

“I do think the public has to accept some responsibility, because you remember during the fiercest of lockdowns, 85% of the country was supporting them, and we all have to bear some responsibility. A lot of this was done in our name and it got the support of the public.”

“So the government probably thought, ‘well, what we’re doing is hugely popular, so let’s keep doing it’.”

The former vice-chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs joins columnists Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan on the latest episode of their weekly podcast, Planet Normal, which you can listen to using the audio player above. 

Mr Walker, who has frequently expressed his concerns about the follow-on impacts of lockdowns, also said that “some wicked things were done” and that “those that promoted them should hang their heads in shame” when it came to the approach of the the government and SAGE. 

He also discussed his fears about ‘a deep mental health scarring’ in the nation, and linked it to the reaction to so-called ‘Partygate’ events at Downing Street. 

“I warned throughout the lockdowns that there was going to be a huge consequence to people’s mental health and wellbeing as a result of the huge demands placed on them, and I feel a lot of that grief and anger is now focussed on what did or did not happen at Number 10.”

On whether the Prime Minister should stand down, the MP for Broxbourne said “I want him to make that decision because I want him to have agency in this whole process because I respect him” but said he would urge Boris Johnson to take the “brave and noble” decision to step down on his own terms. 

Listen to the full interview with Sir Charles Walker MP on Planet Normal, a weekly Telegraph podcast featuring news and views from beyond the bubble, using the audio player above or on Apple PodcastsSpotify or your preferred podcast app. 

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