Several senior figures spoke out on Wednesday to urge the Prime Minister to ‘get a grip’ on the Government, following another embarrassing policy switch on masks in secondary schools.
Former minister Steve Baker said: ‘It is alarming to see yet another U-turn… I know from my own postbag that the credibility of the Government is being damaged. In a situation like this we need a little ideological keel to hold on course.
Tory MPs tonight urged Boris Johnson to ‘stop following Nicola Sturgeon’ as they warned a string of U-turns was sapping public confidence in the Government
‘Instead of worrying about focus groups first and following Nicola Sturgeon the Government should be focusing on doing the right thing. Then we can worry about how to present it.’
Sir Charles Walker, vice-chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs, also questioned why the Scottish First Minister now seemed to be setting the Government’s agenda. He said Tory MPs were ‘very worried’ about the sense of drift at the top of Government.
‘Things now just seem to change on a daily basis and there is growing concern that they tend to change three days after Nicola Sturgeon makes a decision,’ he told Times Radio.
‘The Government just cannot make this stuff up now on the hoof… saying one thing on Monday, changing its mind on Tuesday, something different presented on Wednesday. It’s just not acceptable.’
Yesterday’s decision to reverse the Government’s position on masks in schools came just days after Scotland adopted a similar plan.
‘This month’s decision to drop the controversial exams algorithm also followed an identical decision in Scotland.
‘And ministers were also accused of following Miss Sturgeon’s lead on masks in shops.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on Wednesday denied the decision on masks in schools amounted to a U-turn and said ministers had ‘always’ been clear that guidance was being kept under review.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 committee, said: ‘The Government is dealing with an unprecedented situation, which is changing very rapidly.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) on Wednesday denied the decision on masks in schools amounted to a U-turn
‘But ministers need to get a focus and think things through before taking decisions.’
And Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons transport committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m sick and tired, and I think many people in the public are sick and tired, the science just changes.’
He said: ‘There comes a point in time where policymakers have to get a grip on policy.’