Coronavirus: Dominic Raab rejects calls for government to publish lockdown 'exit strategy'

Dominic Raab has rejected calls to release the government’s strategy for ending the coronavirus lockdown.

The Foreign Secretary was responding to mounting pressure from figures including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who has repeatedly called upon the government to explain how the lockdown could eventually be lifted.

"Until we can be confident, based on the scientific advice, that we are making sure-footed steps going forward that protect life, but also preserve our way of life, frankly it is not responsible to start speculating about the individual measures," he told Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.

Mr Raab, who has been standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he recovers from the disease, said the Government would proceed "cautiously" in order to avoid a second peak in the outbreak.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab clapping outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London this week. (PA)

"We are at a delicate and dangerous stage," he added.

"We need to make sure that the next steps are sure-footed, which is why we are proceeding very cautiously and we are sticking to the scientific advice with the social-distancing measures at this time, whilst doing all the homework to make sure that we are prepared in due course for the next phase."

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Mr Johnson is due to return to work in Downing Street on Monday, after spending the past fortnight recuperating at his official country residence, Chequers.

Sir Keir Starmer said on Saturday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ministers need to start an adult conversation with the public about what happens next.

Scores of people in Hyde Park on Saturday despite the lockdown. (PA)

"The British public have made great sacrifices to make the lockdown work. They deserve to be part of an adult conversation about what comes next. If we want to take people with us and secure their consent, this is necessary now.

"This is a national crisis and therefore needs a national response. The coming weeks require urgent preparation and planning from the Government. We have already seen the consequences of poor planning and preparation. That cannot happen again."

Sir Keir said that while Labour fully supported the lockdown, the Government had been too slow to enter it, too slow to increase testing and too slow to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline NHS and care staff.

"The UK Government is behind the curve on this. I fear we are falling behind the rest of the world. That is why we need to see a significant step-change in the Government's response to this pandemic.

"Decisions need to be taken quicker and communication with the public needs to be clearer."

Sir Keir’s calls were echoed by Rachel Reeves, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, who said on Sunday that said disclosing more about the plan is essential as "businesses and schools and other organisations need time to plan if they are to re-open".

"It is incredibly important that the Government take people with us on this journey,” Ms Reeves said.

"People have by and large stuck by the rules that have been put in place and because they've done that I think it is even more important that we communicate with them, treat them like grown-ups, in where we're going next.”

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