Radio presenter accuses Downing Street of taking coronavirus policy cues off Nicola Sturgeon following U-turn on face masks in England schools
- Credit: Archant
A national radio presenter has implied Downing Street is taking coronavirus policy cues off Nicola Sturgeon following a recent move that made face coverings in schools across parts of England compulsory.
talkRADIO host Julia Harltey-Brewer insinuated that Scotland's first minister had more impact on England's public health policy than Downing Street's own scientific advisors.
The government announced it was following steps taken in Scotland to encourage secondary school pupils to wear face covering in schools across England. The Department for Education also made face masks compulsory in schools under a local lockdown.
You may also want to watch:
It followed a major U-turn on A-Levels results on August 17.
- 1 Why Bristol is the street art city
- 2 Telling the truth is now the only sackable offence
- 3 Empty shelves are partly down to Brexit - but Leavers won't admit it
- 4 Has something shifted in sado-populist Britain?
- 5 What I learned by avoiding England and the Euros
- 6 Cost of Brexit is already 38 times more than the money set aside for levelling up
- 7 How long can Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi play on?
- 8 Could southern discomfort sink a rebalancing agenda still in its infancy?
- 9 Boris Johnson: The sado-populist prime minister
- 10 Why Brexit still feels like a personal loss
Slamming the decision on face masks, Hartley-Brewer said: 'It's another day, another shambolic government U-turn. Every single day there's a government U-turn.
'It was only yesterday morning that I was talking to the business secretary Alok Sharma asking him whether or not the government would follow Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, in imposing face masks in corridors and communal spaces in schools and [he replied] no, no, no that was not government policy and in fact there was a ban on such things in schools in England.
'What a surprise that a few hours later the government did u-turn.'
Among changes being made is giving headteachers the right to decide when face covers should be worn around schools.
Frustrated by the second major volte-face in nine days, Hartley-Brewer erupted: 'Can we go a matter of hours anymore without another embarrassing U-turn?'
She said it was fine to change policy in light of new scientific advice but that 'there was no scientific or medical advice that changed yesterday' that justified the government's latest change of mind.
'As far as I can tell, it seems that government policy in England schools is now being led by what Nicola Sturgeon does in Scotland.
'I don't know about you but I don't remember voting last December to put Nicola Sturgeon in charge of England's schools.'
She added: 'It is high time this government got to grips with what is going on, follow the medical and scientific advice, explain it then stick to it.'
Hartley-Brewer said she would be 'surprised' if parents of teachers had received clear guidance from the government on how schools would be re-opened next week.
She quipped: 'There's probably no point them knowing what the plan is next week right now because, hey, we've got a whole week.
'That's enough time for seven more U-turns by the government.'
Twitter users agreed. One user wrote: 'Logic! Love it!'
David Maloney said: 'Julia it's called leadership - or rather, the lack of it.'
Gilliana Beth said: 'When a government stands for nothing it stands for everything. Chaos is the result.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.