10 January 2021 | UK NEWS
Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair is reportedly advising the Government on how to best roll out its vaccine programme.
Blair, who was Prime Minister between 1997 and 2007, has been a vocal critic of the Government’s vaccine programme so far, and has become a leading advocate of a new roll-out system.
Blair’s promotion of his brand of vaccine roll-out even garnered the support of arch-Brexiteer and Reform Party leader Nigel Farage, who said the Government should “put him in charge of the vaccine programme”.
The Sunday Times reported today that Mr Blair had been offering the Government “strategic advice” over the past few months. The paper also reported that the Government had been in contact with Baroness Harding, who was responsible for the handling of the much-scrutinised Test and Trace system.
Mr Blair said last week that he would like to see coronavirus restrictions lifted in the spring, but that the UK would need to dramatically accelerate its national vaccination campaign in order to do so.
Claiming that restrictions could ease “significantly” in February if there were to be millions of vaccinations per week, he added “it’s not complicated” and described a blueprint for how this could be done.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock remained coy today when asked about the rumours, though he did not deny them.
He said: “I talk to all sorts of people and we take ideas from lots of sources.”
Mr Hancock also told Sophy Ridge today that it was “highly likely” there would be annual coronavirus vaccinations, in line with the annual seasonal flu jab, over the medium term. He referred to this as a “dual-vaccination programme”.
A friend of the former Prime Minister told The Sunday Times: “Tony believes deeply, as do many of the people around him, that he left office at the peak of his powers.
“He got better at governing as time went on. Ten years later, he is definitely animated by a burning feeling that the British governance is inadequate. He feels that he has the drive and ideas to change that.”