On Sunday evening, the Prime Minister announced new public health guidance, under the slogan ‘stay alert, control the virus, save lives’. However, leaders in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, who are responsible for their own lockdown policies, have said that they will not adopt the UK Government’s new slogan, instead sticking with the ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ message.
The Government’s failure to even inform the devolved nations of the key new public safety message poses a real danger to the cross-UK approach. At a time when we need maximum clarity, the Prime Minister has decided to go it alone on messaging.
This exposes a serious lack of coordination from Number 10, which risks hampering efforts between the nations and regions to tackle the virus. We need a UK-wide approach to defeat this virus, with the UK government working in conjunction with all nations, regions, local authorities and elected mayors and close cooperation between the UK and Irish government.
Northern Ireland is unique as it shares a land border with Ireland so cross border cooperation is essential in the Covid-19 response. The government should be in constant contact with the NI Executive and the Irish government to ensure a joined-up approach is agreed.