A rigid adherence to setting dates, regardless of data, is dangerous, dogmatic and in all likelihood disastrous.

Pressure from restless government backbenchers and right-wing populists seems to move this government towards recklessness. The reality is that after billions spent on a failed test and trace system, billions spent on defective PPE and ethically questionable contracts handed out, any serious examination of the government’s response to this crisis will be harsh.

Ham & High: Anne Clarke, Labour Party London Assembly candidate for Barnet and CamdenAnne Clarke, Labour Party London Assembly candidate for Barnet and Camden (Image: Anne Clarke/Labour)

Even with the vaccine programme making good progress, there are still risks from Covid. We have already seen several mutations travel to this country, and there is always a risk that those who have been fully vaccinated can still transmit the virus to those who have not. The latest data even shows that a small number of people who have been double-jabbed have caught the virus.

Covid will not be fully over until the whole world has been vaccinated. This could be several years away. It is not sensible to keep giving a false hope that things will return to “normal” any time soon. Whatever Mr Javid says, the potential for further lockdown still exists as a means of controlling high infections rates. Given the present data trends, I fear this is possibility may become an inevitability.

If the government want the economy to recover, they need to stay focussed on controlling the infection. 130,000 people have already died, and many more are suffering from Long Covid. We must do everything we can to stop the spread of further infection.

Anne Clarke (Lab) is the London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden.