Boris Johnson says UK Government 'looking at relaxing rules' but no change before February

Boris Johnson has claimed the UK Government is “looking at relaxing rules”, but admitted there will be no change before February.

The Prime Minister sparked concerns the restrictions could be eased before the current review date of February 15 after explaining on Monday his team were "looking at the data as it comes in", adding "before then we'll be looking at the potential of relaxing some measures".

His comments seemed to directly contradict Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who less than 24 hours earlier warned any relaxation of measures was a “long, long way” off.

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Downing Street has now sought to clarify what the PM meant, insisting February 15 "remains the earliest point at which we could change any of the rules".

Boris Johnson has claimed the UK Government are “looking at relaxing rules” but admitted there will be no change before February.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman claimed on Monday the Prime Minister had been “clear”.

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The spokesman said: “We continue to keep the scientific date under review and it remains the case that we want to ease restrictions when it is safe to do.

“The PM was just making clear we continue to look at the evidence.”

The confusion came after an interview that also saw Mr Johnson refuse to give a time for schools in England to reopen.

Restrictions are currently due to be reviewed on February 15, with a decision made one week later.

With schools told they would have two weeks’ notice, the earliest date children could return is March 8.

Refusing to give a date, Mr Johnson explained: “I do think now this massive achievement has been made of rolling out this vaccination programme, I think people want to see us making sure we don’t throw that away by having a premature relaxation and then another big surge of infection.

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"I totally understand the frustrations of parents, I really thank teachers for what they’re doing, the immense efforts they’re going to to teach kids online and the Government has provided a lot of laptops.

"I know that’s no substitute for direct face-to-face learning.

“Believe me, there’s nothing I want to do more than reopen schools. I’ve fought to keep schools open for as long as I possibly could.

“We want to see schools back as fast as possible, we want to do that in a way that is consistent with fighting the epidemic and keeping the infection rate down.”

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