Coronavirus: All the u-turns Boris Johnson has been forced to make during pandemic

Coronavirus: All the u-turns Boris Johnson has been forced to make during pandemic

Coronavirus: All the u-turns Boris Johnson has been forced to make during pandemic

Boris Johnson has been forced to make a number of U-turns in less than a year in office.

A-level results

With just a day to go before A-level results were published ministers announced a partial u-turn to a controversial new marking system.

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The scheme was brought in after the coronavirus crisis caused exams to be cancelled.

For the first time teachers would estimate what grade pupils would have achieved. However, ministers were accused of a postcode lottery after it emerged that results would be moderated to reflect previous how individual schools usually perform in the exams.

The u-turn, to allow pupils to use their mock results as the basis for an appeal also descended into confusions when the exams regulator admitted it could not clarify how the new system would work until days after results were received.

Despite the last minute changes Mr Johnson declared the exam results “robust” and “dependable”.

NHS contact tracing app

Ministers have ditched the technology behind the already delayed NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app – the government’s second U-turn in the space of a week.

In May, Boris Johnson cast aside expert opinion during a session of Prime Minister’s Questions to confidently declare that the UK would have a “world beating” system in place by June.

But Thursday’s U-turn means the app won’t be available across England until at least autumn. One minister has admitted that it may not be fully rolled out until the winter. And even then, the product may not be suitable for contact tracing.

Free school meals

The prime minister is well-known for his enthusiasm on the sporting field – if not necessarily his skill. This time Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford beat Mr Johnson at what should be his own game, politics.

The call from the premiership footballer to U-turn on plans to scrap free school meal vouchers over the summer turbocharged a campaign that had already been running for weeks.

Once Tory MPs started to add their voices to calls for a change of heart it was time to drop the policy, but not before Mr Rashford had been dubbed the hero of the hour.

NHS surcharge

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Boris Johnson announced in May that the £400 annual fee paid by non-EU migrants to use the NHS would be scrapped for health and care workers, just a day after defending the policy.

As the nation assembled on their doorsteps every Thursday night to clap for carers it had become increasingly untenable for NHS staff to be asked to pay extra, on top of their taxes, to use the health service.

Especially as it was inside that very health service where they were willingly risking their lives in the fight against coronavirus.

Bereavement scheme

There was an outcry when it emerged a new NHS bereavement scheme would apply to doctors and nurses but not to thousands of other critical staff, many of them low paid.

The scheme grants indefinite leave to remain in the UK to relatives of overseas born NHS staff who die fighting Covid-19. Introduced in April, there were almost immediate calls for it to be extended to other workers, including porters and cleaners.

Announcing the u-turn Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said “every death in this crisis is a tragedy”.

Remote voting

The government was forced to offer concessions to MPs after howls of protests over plans to make them vote in person in the House of Commons.

The system was declared a farce even by normally loyal Tory MPs after politicians were forced to stand in a line more than a kilometre long to queue to vote.

One MP noted that in the middle of a global pandemic: “This is how infections spread”.

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