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Prime minister admits new lockdown rules are ‘complex’

PUBLISHED: 12:47 17 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:47 17 May 2020

Boris Johnson has admitted the latest lockdown and social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic are

Boris Johnson has admitted the latest lockdown and social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic are "complex". Picture: PIPPA FOWLES/10 DOWNING STREET/CROWN COPYRIGHT/PA

Boris Johnson has admitted his government’s instructions have become “more complex” as the nation adjusts to the loosening of lockdown restrictions.

People walking along the promenade in Hunstanton after coronavirus lockdown measures were eased. Picture: Ian BurtPeople walking along the promenade in Hunstanton after coronavirus lockdown measures were eased. Picture: Ian Burt

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, the prime minister accepted that members of the public “will feel frustrated” by the change of rules.

But he added that, in dealing with the coronavirus crisis and moving the country out of lockdown, his government was doing “something that has never had to be done before”.

Mr Johnson’s comments came during the first weekend since measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 were relaxed and the national campaign message was changed from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay alert’.

New guidance allows people to drive an unlimited distance for exercise and meet one person from a different household in an outdoor setting.

Prime minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus from 10 Downing Street. Photo: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/PA WirePrime minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus from 10 Downing Street. Photo: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/PA Wire

Despite pleas from councils, police and even tourism bosses to stay away from beaches and beauty spots over the weekend, many of Norfolk and Waveney’s coastal towns were noticeably busier than in recent weeks.

In Hunstanton, police were forced to break up a large group of bikers gathered on the seafront.

Mr Johnson has, however, said he trusts Brits to abide by the latest rules in order to accelerate a return to normal life.

He wrote: “I recognise what we are now asking is more complex than simply staying at home - but this is a complex problem and we need to trust in the good sense of the British people.

PC Francine Heath and PC Glenn Barnes on patrol in Hunstanton after coronavirus lockdown measures were eased. Picture: Ian BurtPC Francine Heath and PC Glenn Barnes on patrol in Hunstanton after coronavirus lockdown measures were eased. Picture: Ian Burt

“If we all stick at it, then we’ll be able, gradually, to get rid of the complexities and the restrictions and make it easier and simpler for families to meet again. But we must move slowly, and at the right time.”

But with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland having chosen not to adopt the government’s new ‘stay alert’ message, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has blamed Mr Johnson for fracturing the relationship between the four nations.

Speaking to the BBC’s Politics Wales programme, he said: “The sooner, frankly, we get back to operating as four nations together, the better.

“I do think responsibility for that lies very largely with the prime minister, who I would have hoped could have got all the ducks in a row before he actually made his speech last Sunday.”

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