A police officer was dragged away amid chaotic scenes outside Downing Street yesterday as Laurence Fox and Piers Corbyn joined maskless anti-lockdown protesters demanding an end to all Covid restrictions.
Mr Fox, 43, was shown speaking with police while holding a copy of an anti-lockdown magazine, while Jeremy Corbyn’s 74-year-old brother held an anti-vax banner alongside protesters calling climate change a ‘con’ and complaining about the ‘New World Order’.
Other activists held signs calling for masks and testing to be scrapped, with others said ‘99.7% of people do not die’ and ‘the media is a virus’.
Social media messages showed the demonstration had been specifically planned to coincide with Mr Johnson’s announcement to the Commons about the fate of the opening plans for June 21.
Footage from the demonstration shows a female police officer being hauled away by her colleagues, as protesters scream ‘traitors’ and ‘it’s all right when it happens to one of us, isn’t it’.
Boris Johnson yesterday urged Britons to be patient as he announces that the relaxation of Covid restrictions will be pushed back until July 19 because of the rampaging Indian variant, to allow more people to receive their second vaccine dose.
Police officers help an injured colleague during an anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protest in London, June 14
Laurence Fox, 43, was shown speaking with police while holding a copy of an anti-lockdown magazine during a protest against Covid restrictions today
Piers Corbyn (right) held an anti-vaxxer banner alongside protesters calling climate change a ‘con’ and complaining about the ‘New World Order’
Demonstrators protest outside Downing Street against the delay in easing of lockdown restrictions on June 14
Anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside Number 10 today to protest Covid restrictions as Boris Johnson was set to give his announcement about the June 21 reopening
A man gestures at a policeman outside the gates of No10. The Prime Minister is delaying the reopening, to anger from Tory backbenchers
An anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine demonstrator holds a placard as he takes part in a protest in Downing Street
Activists held banners calling for masks and testing to be scrapped, with one describing the organisers as ‘a collective of the concerned’
The Prime Minister faces a ferocious backlash from all wings of the Tory Party over his decision to delay Freedom Day last night – as his own MPs warned of curbs lasting through winter and beyond.
Horrified backbenchers expressed concerns about a ‘ lockdown without end’ and said they were losing confidence in the prospect of coronavirus restrictions being lifted for the foreseeable future.
In the wake of the Prime Minister’s announcement of a four-week delay to removing curbs in England, they accused him of ‘panicking’ and said that they feared a return to even tighter curbs in the autumn.
One Cabinet minister said last night the frontbench team were ‘resigned’ to the fact there would be a delay, but added: ‘We must now deliver on vaccinations.’
No ministers stuck their head above the parapet to publicly criticise the lockdown extension.
It emerged that MPs will be given a vote tomorrow on whether regulations enforcing the lockdown should be extended until midnight on July 19 – the new supposed Freedom Day.
But the enraged Tory rebels conceded they were effectively powerless to block the postponement as the support of Labour meant Mr Johnson was ‘unassailable’.
Piers Corbyn takes part in an anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protest in Downing Street on June 14
A Trump 2024 flag was among those waved at the protest outside Downing Street during the protest yesterday
A demonstrator with a pentagram tattoo holds up a sign saying ‘This NHS workers has had enough’
Police officers stand guard during an anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protest at Downing Street, London, June 14
A woman is seen holding onto a police officer’s high visibility vest at the London protest on June 14
Police are seen linking arms at the Downing Street anti-lockdown protest in London yesterday as Boris Johnson delayed plans to lift Covid restrictions
Police carry away an officer amid chaotic scenes at the protest outside Downing Street on Monday
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said: ‘I don’t see the evidence for us suddenly panicking like this.
‘If we are not careful we will drift into late summer and autumn, and the scientists will say, ‘You cannot unlock now because we are heading into winter’. Where are we going with all of this?’
The Tory grandee warned that the country needed to get ‘business going so we can pay our taxes and can afford the Health Service and cut our borrowing’.
‘We seem to think there is only one risk and that risk is Covid and everything else is irrelevant. That is a serious problem,’ he added.
Some hardline anti-lockdown Tories are furious about any delay at all, as they wanted the lifting of lockdown to be faster that it has been.
Former minister Steve Baker channelled classic war film The Great Escape in a message to Covid Recovery Group MPs last night, according to Politico, saying: ‘It is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape.
‘If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.’
And theatre impresario Sir Howard Panter warned the industry will suffer ‘significant damage’ if the final lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England is put on hold.
A conspiracy theorist holds a sign saying ‘flu stats swapped for killer Covid’ during protests against the lockdown on Whitehall yesterday
Flags were held aloft, including a banner bearing a smiley face and the word ‘freedom’ during the demonstration outside the gates of Downing Street
A man holding a megaphone in one hand and a can of beer in the other speak to police manning the Number 10 cordon
Social media messages showed the demonstration had been specifically planned to coincide with Mr Johnson’s announcement to the Commons about the fate of the opening plans for June 21
Protesters speaking with masked police officers outside the gates of Downing Street during the protest yesterday morning
Conservative MP Damian Green told the Westminster Hour that there should be a break clause after two or three weeks of the extension.
‘I get the point that because of the deltas variant the cases have gone up, hospitalisation has gone up a bit but not a lot and is below the level of some of the Sage predictions of a few months ago,’ he said.
‘So I think if there is a delay I hope it’s only for a few weeks and I think if it is as long as a month then there should be a break clause after two or maybe three weeks, to say that if we can tell by then that the rise in cases is not lading to a sort of rise in the serious illness that sends people into hospital, then we can unlock earlier.’
Ignoring a mounting revolt by Tory MPs and dire warnings from the hospitality and theatre industries, Mr Johnson argued that scrapping all restrictions now is likely to fuel the surge – and the public needs to be ‘patient’ so the country does not go into reverse.
The PM outlined a delay in the relaxation of restrictions in an attempt to push forward with the vaccination effort.
Protesters with signs saying ‘99.7% are not dying’, ‘the media is a virus’ and ‘freedom is not negotiable’ at the event
Several hundred could be seen at yesterday’s protest, which saw demonstrators march to Downing Street from the Houses of Parliament
A government source told The Times Mr Johnson considers it the ‘final stretch’ to extend the protection of the jabs as far as possible before normality can return.
Mr Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock signed off on the four-week delay, it was reported.
A senior UK government source told The Telegraph the message had always been ‘cautious but irreversible’, adding: ‘That has been our mantra throughout and that continues.
‘It would be far worse to have uncertainty and go backwards. It is better to be cautious and have certainty. It is one last heave. It is a straight race between the vaccine and the virus.’
Mr Johnson is expected to put the delay to the vote later this month. While it is likely to pass easily with opposition support, he faces a sizable Tory rebellion that will show the dept of anger on his own backbenches.
Boris Johnson (pictured today) is tonight set to delay Freedom Day by a month – to the fury of business leaders and Tory MPs