Tony Blair calls on Boris Johnson to appoint a coronavirus minister to offer ‘100% focus’ on response

PUBLISHED: 11:33 20 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:33 20 April 2020

The Tony Blair Institute has provided a 'roadmap' for exiting the coronavirus lockdown. Photograph: Sky News.

The Tony Blair Institute has provided a 'roadmap' for exiting the coronavirus lockdown. Photograph: Sky News.

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Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair has called on Boris Johnson to appoint a minister focused solely on the coronavirus response, and to establish a government department with responsibility for tackling the outbreak.

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Blair told Sky News that creating a department - or allocating senior ministers and business experts to tackle issues such as PPE procurement and testing - could help the economy in the long run.

He told All Out Politics presenter Adam Boulton: “In my way view what you need in each of these areas is the right senior person in charge. A politician and someone for the outside - a lot of these things require private sector not public sector skills - and the right expertise in this preparation phase so that you are doing all that you possible can so that when restrictions do start to ease, you’ve got the best chances for economic activity going.”

He added: “If I were back in government today, I would appoint a senior minister and probably a senior business person alongside them with the right technical advice doing absolutely nothing other than just focusing 100% on that.”

Blair’s comments come as his think tank - the Institute for Global Change - published a paper advising the government on strategies for easing the current lock down.

He said: “Right now, we need to do absolutely everything to reposition government so we can get our economy moving again.”

He praised Germany and South Korea for their quick response to the virus and said that Britain housed an international population whose travel routines may have helped transmit Covid-19 into the country.

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