Iain Duncan Smith calls for an end to two-metre social distancing rule to ‘get economy moving’

PUBLISHED: 12:36 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:57 19 May 2020

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme questioning the government's social distancing rules; Isabel Infantes

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme questioning the government's social distancing rules; Isabel Infantes

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Iain Duncan Smith has questioned the scientific advice of remaining two metres apart during the coronavirus epidemic arguing that ministers should relax the measure in order to kick start the economy.

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The former Tory leader and ex-work and pensions minister has appealed to Boris Johnson to reconsider the two-metre social distancing rule, and questioned the science behind the thinking.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Duncan Smith said a relaxation would help businesses.

“We need to get [the economy] moving as quick as possible and I’ve certainly been arguing that for some weeks now,” before pointing to areas where there can be “flexibility”, including hospitality.

He added: “What I’m saying is that in certain conditions, like restaurants, particularly when they’re outside, maybe they can look at that because that in itself will help encourage the economy”.

And the Brexiteer questioned the scientific advice given to senior ministers in government.

“What we’re now discovering... is that more and more scientists are beginning to question the amount of the coronavirus that can be transmitted through the air,” he said referring to claims by chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance that dropping the gap could increase transmissions by a factor of between ten to thirty.

“We’re the only country certainly in Europe that I know of that uses the two-metre rule,” the MP added.

The idea did not go down well on Twitter.

“Make him work at a hospital so that he realises what going on,” suggested Hamilton Shah.

“You know that phrase ‘a Leopard never changes it’s spots’. It fits Iain Duncan Smith aptly”, noted another.

Kieron Moorman questioned what else Duncan Smith would do to restart the economy. “He’ll be asking for the definition of ‘dead’ to be relaxed next, ‘to help the economy’”, he said.

“The best advice for the British people is NEVER do anything suggested by Iain Duncan Smith,” said Paul Harland.

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