Rishi Sunak says he ‘challenged the system’ and stopped December Covid lockdown

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 was running rampant last December.

21 July 2022

Rishi Sunak has said the country was “hours away” from another national coronavirus lockdown in December but he stepped in and stopped it.

The former chancellor, who is battling against Liz Truss to become the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister, said it shows that he is “prepared to fight” for what he believes in.

Last December the Omicron variant of Covid-19 ran rampant and Boris Johnson urged the nation to get booster jabs.

Budget 2021
Rishi Sunak during a press conference in 10 Downing Street (Tolga Akmen/PA)

Speaking on Tonight With Andrew Marr on LBC, Mr Sunak said: “What I did in December was fly back from a Government trip I was on overseas and I flew back to this country to stop us sleepwalking into a national lockdown, because we were hours away from a press conference that was going to lock this country down again because of Omicron.

“And I came back and fought very hard against the system because I believed that would be the wrong thing for this country, with all the damage it would have done to businesses, to children’s education, to people’s lives.”

Mr Sunak said he “challenged the system” and was glad he “won” the argument, adding that it should give people confidence that he is “prepared to push hard and fight for the things that I believe in even when that’s difficult”.

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