The Government is changing the emphasis with in line with a series of measures unveiled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday and the new phrase replaces the previous slogan Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives. However, the decision has been met with significant criticism, with GMB host Piers Morgan this morning tearing into Tory MP Andrew Brigden while branding the Government’s approach “a lot of old flannel”.
Mr Johnson outlined his new approach in a speech yesterday, with people who cannot now work from home now encouraged to go into work, and unlimited exercise outside now permitted.
He also referred to the five tests the Government said must be met before the lockdown can be fully lifted – making sure the NHS can cope; a sustained and consistent fall in the death rate; a decrease in the rate of infection to manageable levels; Ensuring supply of tests and PPE can meet future demand; and being confident any adjustments will not result in a second peak.
However, the YouGov poll indicates just 30 percent of those surveyed believe the new slogan makes it clear what they are supposed to do, compared with 91 percent for the previous one.
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The poll also reveals even split when it comes to the relaxation of the rules announced by Mr Johnson yesterday, with 44 percent supportive, and 43 percent disapproving.
In addition, 46 percent think the changes go too far, ten percent say they do not go far enough, while 35 percent think the Government has got the balance about right.
Chris Curtis, Political Research Manager at YouGov, said: “While the public have so far been overwhelmingly behind the government and its approach to tackling coronavirus, we might now start to see that consensus fracturing.
“Previous polling has highlighted Brits’ concerns about the lockdown ending too quickly and this new research reinforces this view with almost half saying the announced relaxing of the rules goes too far.
“What’s more, the much derided new British government slogan, which YouGov’s snap poll shows many are struggling to understand, alongside the competing advice emanating from each part of the Union, has the potential to sow more confusion in the coming days.”
The poll also indicates significant splits down party lines.
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More than six in ten 2017 Conservative voters (61 percent) support the changes to the lockdown, much higher than the 37 percent of Lib Dems and 32 percent of Labour voters.
Similarly, 48 percent of Tories said they understood what was meant by Stay alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives, compared with 17 percent of Labour voters and 18 percent of Lib Dem voters.
Speaking on GMB today, Mr Brigden told Mr Morgan: “The address was very clear and I think you’re insulting the public’s intelligence.
“It’s clear to deal with this virus he’s laid out the five tests.”
Mr Morgan asked whether he was permitted to see his sons if he kept his distance and Mr Bridgen said said yes, at which point Mr Morgan said: “This is the problem Andrew Bridgen, you see what you’ve just said is completely against the new rules as stated.
“There you are a Conservative member of parliament who thinks he knows exactly what Boris Johnson has been saying and yet you’ve just told me to do something I’m not allowed to do.
“This is the problem isn’t it? It’s a lot of old flannel talking about controlling the virus and you, as a leading high profile Conservative politician, haven’t got a clue about what these rules actually mean and you’re an MP. You’re part of this!”
The poll results also highlight the problem the Government is likely to face in lifting restrictions.
Speaking to Express.co.uk last month, pollster Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, told Express.co.uk: “What probably matters now is where we go from here.
“Firstly, how well does the government persuade people that there is an exit strategy – obviously, there are questions about whether there is one.”
YouGov interviewed 6564 adults on May 10.
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