Those who thought that Javid would be any different are deluded.
On the day Sajid Javid took office he gave a quote to waiting media that he wanted to get the country out of the pandemic 'as soon as possible' and assembled media types lept on this platitude as some sort of confirmation that the 19th of July was definitely going ahead. In reality, nothing has changed, he may have made all the right noises in parliament but these were just words. He is a Pandemic believer and has repeatedly voted for Coronavirus restrictions, voting for the extension of the Coronavirus Act only 2 weeks ago.
Conservative MP Steve Baker has told Sky News that Javid has actually “worsened” the prospect of all restrictions being lifted on July 19th by being ambiguous over whether or not guidelines on social distancing and testing will end at this time. Baker’s comments on the likelihood of Test and Trace continuing to play a large role after July 19th are particularly fitting, given that the Government has just awarded Serco and Mitie new testing contracts – worth up to £687 million collectively – to support this system. These contracts will run for up to 18 months.
The Chairman of the Covid Recovery Group says that maintaining some restrictions after Step Four of the lockdown “roadmap” would risk creating a “hollow and haunted society”.
Asked by Sky’s Deputy Political Editor Sam Coates whether he welcomed the fact Mr Javid described July 19th as “irreversible”, Mr Baker said the claim did not go far enough. He said: “I am very pleased he doubled down on it, but I would just observe he has doubled down on the existing Government line to take. In fact, in a sense, he has worsened the position." He went on to say "The impression which Matt [Hancock] was happy to create in the Commons was that once we got to Step Four there would not be regulations – freedom from regulations – now that’s difficult to reconcile with what’s now going on with events with Covid certification being trialled, with social distancing and test and trace – what actually is the world going to look like when we get our freedom back?”
From the moment Javid took office SAGE scientists began issuing statements to the media, saying that he should 'remain cautious' and that he should 'look again at the 19th of July' and all this is before he's even had a chance to get into his new office and deactivate the cameras.