Lockdown backers to blame for UK recession, suggests minister

The Government’s “minister for common sense” has appeared to blame “everybody who voted for lockdown” for the British economy’s dip into recession.

Cabinet Office Minister Esther McVey made the claim during an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, as she faced questions about who voters should hold responsible for the lack of growth.

She said: “I think everybody who voted for lockdown aided what we’re going through now. I absolutely do.”

A Government sign warning people to stay at home during the pandemic
A Government sign warning people to stay at home during the pandemic (Andrew Matthews/PA)

She added: “But what we did is, nobody wanted, all the political parties voted for it. And we protected the country.

“But what I will say if the Conservative government hadn’t got the finances right in 2010, we would not have been able to have supported the country like we did with all of that money and aid and support. So we got the country back on track.

“We’ve done it. We’ve proved we can do it. And now we’ve got to do it again, as we come out of it.”

Ms McVey was an outspoken opponent of strict lockdown measures. She was given her unofficial title after her appointment to the Cabinet Office in Rishi Sunak’s last reshuffle.

A member of the party’s right wing, her appointment was seen as part of the Prime Minister’s attempt to unite his fractious party.

The confirmation of a technical recession came after the Office for National Statistics estimated that GDP fell by 0.3% in the last three months of 2023, following a decline of 0.1% in the previous three months.

It came as a blow to Mr Sunak, who had promised to grow the economy, and was seized on by opposition parties with an election only months away.

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