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Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
UK News

'PM may come back to work with a degree of humility', says Christian MP

by Tola Mbakwe

A Conservative Christian MP believes Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suffering from coronavirus may have a positive benefit to the way he does his job.

Mr Johnson had his first day back at work on Monday after spending two weeks recovering from time spent in hospital with Covid-19. 

MP for South West Devon Gary Streeter told Premier he has high hopes for how the prime minister will lead the country out of the crisis. 

"I think that he will come back full of energy and he's made a flying start with a very positive statement outside Downing Street this morning. 

"He's obviously been very ill, but he's also had the chance to step back and grapple with the big issues that we've got to face as a country now. I expect in the next few days there's a plan to get us out of lockdown over several weeks and to take us back into a new normality.  I think he will be very much the architect of that and will be able to communicate that to the British people."

Now he is back at Downing Street, the prime minister has many challenging problems on his to-do list.

There is no end in sight for lifting lockdown measures - and although the situation will be reviewed again on 7th May, there is still no sign of an exit plan.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused the Government of treating the public "like children" for refusing even to give a hint of what a future strategy could look like.

The problem of adequate levels of PPE is a headache the Government has made little progress on in Mr Johnson's absence.

According to a study published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society on Wednesday, over a third of frontline workers surveyed said they were still unable to access continuous supplies of PPE.

A promised shipment of 400,000 medical gowns due to arrive earlier this week turned out to be closer to 32,000, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, the Government previously set a target of 100,000 Covid-19 tests being conducted every day by the end of the month, but with just five days to go that ambition looks doomed.

The Home Secretary said on Saturday only 28,760 tests had been carried out on Friday, while a new online booking service has also facing some serious teething problems.

Streeter admits there's a lot to get sorted out and the government has made its errors. 

"Mistakes have been made because decisions have been made by human beings," he said. "But I think we've had a clear strategy to reduce the peak of the virus and to build capacity in NHS to make sure that the NHS could cope all the way through. That clearly has happened."

With several issues to deal with, Streeter believes Mr Johnson will address them with more "humility" after having his own battle with coronavirus. 

"I think it clearly makes him full of empathy for those families who are going through this themselves. The British people, we love an underdog, don't we? I think that there'll be even more people getting behind him and wishing him well. 

"And I suspect he'll come back with not just clarity and energy that we expect from him, but perhaps with a degree of humility. He did say himself at one stage 'it could have gone either way'. When you have that kind of experience where life hangs in the balance, it changes you. So I should be looking closely. 

"I'm sure we all will see how this has changed for us, and how it impacts his leadership the nation, and it can't be a bad thing."

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