Phillip Schofield challenges Priti Patel over ‘confusing’ and changing coronavirus rules
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Phillip Schofield challenged Home Secretary Priti Patel on This Morning on Thursday, as he asked for clarity on the "confusing" coronavirus rules as the UK remains in lockdown.
While different rules apply to different areas, England is currently in a full lockdown with the public advised to stay at home, with them only allowed to head out for work, essential shopping and exercise – as well as medical appointments and other exempt situations.
Amid reports of even tougher restrictions due to the increasing cases and deaths from Covid-19, Phillip and co-host Holly Willoughby questioned claims of a three-metre social distancing rule coming into place, as well as other possible changes they had heard.
Priti appeared on the show on Thursday, so Phil challenged her as Home Secretary about the reports.
She claimed that there were no new rules coming into place, and the focus remained on the current rules and enforcing them – including social distancing and mask wearing in supermarkets.
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Phil had asked: "Can I just ask you about rumours that if what we're doing now isn't enough, you will do more?" with him referring to the three-metre rule talks, and wearing masks when outdoors.
She replied: "The plans are to enforce the rules, [you will see] more police officers out and about, more people from local authorities, Covid marshals, trading standards, working with supermarkets to ensure they are following the social distancing regulations and measures to stop the spread of this virus.
"This isn't about new rules coming in, we're going to stick with enforcing current measures, I can say this categorically to your viewers."
She also maintained her view that the rules were clear and that the majority were following them, leading to Phil and Holly showing her some examples where the public have been accused of breaking the rules.
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From two women who drove five miles from their homes separately to go for a walk being fined due to having coffee, which was later revoked, to the lady and her husband who revealed they were punished for waving at her elderly mother through a care home window, Phillip asked where the clarity was.
It's then that he showed a video of a man who was stopped by a Covid marshal who told him he wasn't allowed to continue his run without a mask "because of his heavy breathing".
Holly said the rules being clear was "just not the case" while Phil called the marshal a "jobsworth" before challenging Priti on her thoughts, on whether the jogger or the marshal were in the right.
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She said in this case: "The rules and advice I think are clear…. they are to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."
She added: "You can, outdoors, not wear a mask, so the point about masks is when you are in enclosed spaces," later adding: "You can't run and wear a mask that is not practical and sensible," before she advised people to go out but said there was a difference between exercising and socialising.
Phil and Holly again shared how the instances could be confusing for those not sure what the rules are, if those enforcing them didn't seem to be clear on them.
Holly asked for clarity
He said: "That's what annoys people, one person misunderstands a rule here, another misinterprets a rule there and it gets confusing and annoying."
It's then that they questioned what "local" meant and how far out of a borough someone could go, referencing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's bike ride seven miles from his home.
Priti refused to suggest Boris was in the wrong, before not giving a clear answer on what local referred to – with Holly repeating that this lacked clarity.
She kept commenting that length of cycling depended on someone's usual plan, while defending that London was big when asked about if it was necessary to cycle for seven miles.
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.