'Devastated' couples in tears over Boris' 'cruel' wedding rules

‘How can we have a socially-distanced wedding with 120 people?’ ‘Devastated’ couples are left in tears as they face paying thousands to postpone their weddings yet again over ‘cruel’ rules that ban dancing and force guests to wear masks

  • From next Monday marriages will be allowed to go ahead with no fixed size limit
  • Angry couples criticised PM for offering little clarity on the new guidelines
  • MailOnline has been inundated by emails from bereft couples due to marry 
  • Has YOUR wedding been impacted by the delay? Or are you a wedding venue left struggling? Email [email protected] or [email protected] 

Boris Johnson was today branded ‘dictatorial and cruel’ and should ‘hang his head in shame’ by ‘distraught’ and ‘confused’ couples who have told MailOnline how his decision to delay Freedom Day by a month has wrecked their wedding plans again.

One bride was left sobbing as she watched the Prime Minister’s  ‘vague’ announcement that weddings can now go ahead with more than 30 guests provided that ‘social distancing’ is in place – and dancing and mingling is banned.

Some couples have been forced to postpone their weddings for the fourth time – at a cost of thousands of pounds – and loved-ones who would have been there have even died of covid and cancer since then. 

Lana Sheikani, 28, and her fiancé is Alex Aldridge, 31, have been forced to change their wedding day twice because of lockdown. In that time they have lost two close relatives, including one to Covid. And Lana’s parents are now stuck abroad and are unlikely to be able to attend the wedding at Braxted Park in Essex, now moved again to October 30.

She told MailOnline: ‘We have lost so much money, time and have had to rebook everything. It is so heart breaking as now my parents who live in another country won’t be able to attend my wedding.

‘We’ve had it hard. My partner’s mum got cancer, his grandma died of Covid and his uncle of cancer, months apart. All we wanted was a wedding with our family and friends and it’s been so heartbreaking’. 

Natalie Stratton, 35, and Leandre Leroux, 36, have their wedding is booked for July 1 at the Manor by the Lake in Cheltenham. Miss Stratton was in tears because of the ‘very cruel’ announcement yesterday evening.

Lana Sheikani, 28, and her fiancé is Alex Aldridge, 31, have been forced to change their wedding day twice because of lockdown – with Boris’ decision causing more stress and anxiety

Natalie Stratton, 35, and Leandre Leroux, 36, have their wedding is booked for July 1 at the Manor by the Lake in Cheltenham. Natalie sobbed when she heard the news last night, her mother said

Sharne Jones, 35 and Kai Algar, 34, are due to marry in Suffolk on July 17 – two days before the new Freedom Day with Boris scuppering their plans

Her mother Sue Miles told MailOnline: ‘The cowardly announcement from our dictatorial Prime Minister – cowardly in that he didn’t stipulate the numerous caveats to his lifting of numbers- has left my daughter distraught and in tears. 

‘You cannot have a socially distanced wedding. It’s ridiculous and cruel. Quite frankly I am angry beyond words about the double standards being applied. 

‘Surely wedding guests  – most of whom will have had two jabs – can take a Covid test beforehand, like the football fans. 

‘This is a petty minded & thoughtless blow – not to mention financially ruining – for all couples and businesses involved & I for one am truly disgusted with the Prime Minister. May he hang his head in shame’. 

Another groom due to marry his fiancée next month told MailOnline he is completely baffled by the rules, including a ban on dancing.

He said: ‘I am gutted with the decision and I haven’t got a clue what we’ll do. Along with no dancing we can’t have our reception drinks outside with canapés. We were having a bbq, how will that work? If you look at everyone mixing and drinking outside at football and mainly the cricket it’s ridiculous’.

He added: ‘I’m due to get married on July 10 and we’re completely stumped by what’s allowed.

‘We have 120 guests arranged, how can we have a social distanced wedding with 120 people? Are we allowed a DJ? What would be the point if we can’t dance.

‘It’s an awful decision we’d rather keep it to 30 people and go with it very restricted’.

From next Monday marriages will be allowed to go ahead with no fixed size limit, despite the pause to lifting lockdown completely announced by the prime minister tonight. 

Instead they will be allowed to be as large as is permissible at the venue under social distancing guidelines that remain in place. 

Guests will have to remain seated at tables of no more than six, and the current ban on dancing indoors will remain in place apart from the newlyweds’ first dance – however these specific details were not included in Mr Johnson’s speech. The proposed new Freedom Day is July 19.

During last night’s press conference, Tessa from Bedfordshire – who has been forced to postpone her wedding plans twice – quizzed the prime minister on why testing and vaccination status can’t be used to open up weddings in the same way it’s being used to make football matches accessible, adding that it feels like nuptials are ‘bottom of the pile’. 

Sarah Balfour, 45, from London, is meant to be getting married to partner Lloyd Michaels, 47, on July 11 – having already postponed their nuptials once in August last year – but has decided to move it yet again.

Sarah Balfour, 45, from London, is meant to be getting married to partner Lloyd Michaels, 47, on July 11 – having already postponed their nuptials once in August last year – but has decided to move it yet again

During last night’s press conference, Tessa from Bedfordshire – who has been forced to postpone her wedding plans twice – quizzed the prime minister on why testing and vaccination status can’t be used to open up weddings in the same way it’s being used to make football matches accessible, adding that it feels like nuptials are ‘bottom of the pile’ 

‘I don’t fancy a wedding without dancing and with socially distanced seating for my guests, I want to be able to dance with my friends and family, hug them, and not be socially distanced, so it won’t be happening for us on July 11,’ she told FEMAIL.

‘I have to say the prime minister’s announcement was extremely vague. There was very little clarity there, there were no guidelines, we were having to really second-guess what he said there. It’s really not helpful at all.

‘Having a wedding with people socially distanced – what does that mean exactly? He didn’t mention about the music and singing, but we went online and news sites had made an interpretation of that, which is no singing and dancing. We interpretted a maximum of six on a table, but he didn’t say that.’

Lloyd added: ‘The announcement made no sense whatsoever, there was no clarification. It’s almost worse now because everyone’s going to be left to second-guess.

‘We actually feel more comfortable knowing now we’re going to postpone it, it’s the uncertainty that’s the worst bit for everyone. But now we’re going to have to get on with booking a date for next year.’

Allowed:

  • Weddings (and wakes) with more than 30 people, subject to the venue’s social distancing capacity.
  • The couple’s first dance
  • Speeches –  preferably outside or using a PA system so no shouting is needed 
  • Cutting the cake
  • Guest books and photo booths

Banned:

  • Dancing indoors
  • Stand-up receptions at either indoor or outdoor venues

Not recommended:

  • Dancing outside
  • Singing, including hymns
  • Cash donations
  • Shared orders of service 

Sarah, who works as an event planner and whose business has been devastated by the pandemic, said it’s also ‘nonsensical’ that the PM didn’t mention birthday parties or other events tonight.

She admitted she’s ‘beginning to feel like Miss Havisham waiting in my wedding dress with cobwebs all over me’.

‘I’m supposed to have a dress fitting on Thursday, it was all looking so good!’ she said. ‘We were meant to have 120 people, and we thought moving it to July this year from August last year would for sure be enough time. 

‘With restrictions like only the couples can do the first dance and guests aren’t allowed to dance, and have to wear face masks, we’re just not going to do that, it’s not the way that we want our wedding to be.

‘Even our save the dates say ‘we hope to save the date’ – it was worded in such a way that there’s no promises here. 

‘Everybody understands, it’s no shock as such, but it’s obviously very frustrating from a planning perspective.

‘You want your wedding to feel comfortable, you don’t want people to feel uncomfortable. 

‘Whilst people might not want to hug each other, that I understand, socially distanced table seating and guests wearing masks and not allowed to dance, it takes away from the wedding.

‘Music for me is huge, I’ve got a fantastic musicians performing at the wedding and I want people to feel free to party and dance.   

‘If they can’t do that it’s not really what I’ve got in mind. It just becomes background music.’  

Sophie, 27, from Leeds, has been planning her wedding to Josh, 27, for two years, and admitted the last week of ‘not knowing’ has been incredibly stressful.

For her, lifting the 30-people cap on the number allowed to attend her wedding is ‘pointless’ if guests aren’t able to dance and enjoy the day without restrictions.

Sarah and Lloyd, pictured, both felt the prime minister’s announcement was ‘extremely vague’ and offered little clarity

Sarah, who works as an event planner and whose business has been devastated by the pandemic, said it’s also ‘nonsensical’ that the PM didn’t mention birthday parties or other events tonight

Speaking to FEMAIL before the announcement, she said: ‘It’s ridiculous, it’s not a wedding then is it? It’s just a meal – we could go to a restaurant and have 300 people apparently. It doesn’t make any sense.

‘Yeah you can have a ceremony and a meal, but it’s not about that, it’s about the whole event and everyone having fun and dancing and enjoying a drinks reception, it’s the whole package. We don’t want to remember our wedding as some weird Covid party. 

‘You pay for a wedding, the whole package, and for me it’s all or nothing. You wait so long to get married, and it’s too much of a special day to look back and say, ‘That wasn’t what we planned’.’ 

Jason Szollosi, 28, and his fiancé, Sally, 25, from Lincoln, said they are preparing to cut their guestlist down from 120 to 60 in light of the announcement so that their venue can adhere to social distancing. Postponing their nuptials would likely cost them £3,500 for the venue alone.

‘It’s going to be a stressful two weeks. The feeling right now is uncertainty,’ he told The Guardian, adding that he is yet to speak to their venue about how many tables it could accommodate. 

‘We’re disappointed, we can’t have everyone we wanted but it’s better than 30 people or cancelling it for next year. We’ve had this wedding planned for two years, it’s been a ‘will they, won’t they’ experience.’ 

Sophie and Josh have invited 110 guests and are set to marry on July 17 – just two days before the new ‘Freedom Day’.

Jason Szollosi, 28, and his fiancé, Sally, 25, from Lincoln, said they are preparing to cut their guestlist down from 120 to 60 in light of the announcement

Sophie, 27, from Leeds, has been planning her wedding to Josh, 27, for two years, and admitted the last week has been very stressful. Pictured tasting their wedding cake

Sophie added that it’s galling that restrictions will remain in place on her special day, yet thousands are allowed to gather in a stadium to watch football.

‘It’s so arbitrary, those 48 hours, from the Saturday to the Monday,’ she said. ‘I can’t believe we’re going to miss out by that amount.

‘These new rules feel like an empty gesture because we still can’t have the wedding we planned. It’s not just about the wedding, it’s everything, everyone’s booked to come, I’ve got friends flying over from abroad, and there’s so much money we’re going to lose on our deposits that we won’t get back.’ 

Sophie added that it’s galling that restrictions will remain in place on her special day, yet thousands are allowed to gather in a stadium to watch football. 

‘You see the crowds in the stadiums and Boris at the G7 summit having a drinks reception and BBQ with no social distancing. It’s so hypocritical,’ she said.

‘I don’t understand why nothing’s been put in place where people can be tested or show they’ve had their vaccine to attend a wedding, it just doesn’t make any sense.’

She added that now the prime minister has lifted the restrictions on numbers, she’s worried their insurance company aren’t going to pay out and that the venue may not let them move the date because technically it could go ahead.  

‘It’s some weird halfway house which is actually worse for us,’ Sophie said. ‘Plus all the dates for next year are booked at our venue, so I don’t know what we’re going to do.’

While the couple are prepared to postpone their wedding so that they can have the day they planned, they worry about the impact on their guests who have booked to travel from afar. 

‘Our best friends from Australia are coming, they’ve had to apply for an exemption to leave the country,’ she said. 

‘They’re moving to England for a year-and-a-half so they’re able to come over, but they wouldn’t be coming this summer if it wasn’t for the wedding. If the wedding isn’t happening I don’t know if they’d push it back or not.’  

Another couple, Josie Collier, 28, and Jonny Pickles, 32, said they feel ‘let down and confused’ by the announcement. They are due to marry on July 3, after booking their venue in 2019 and choosing the date after the government published its roadmap for easing restrictions in February.

Their big day is costing £20,000, and they’re unsure where they stand financially as, due to the pandemic, they’ve struggled to get insurance.

‘We’ve tried to leave some details as late as possible in case dates did change, but in the past few weeks we have finalised menu choices, song lists, table plans, had our final outfit fittings, purchased wedding favours with dates on – all of which have cost us money,’ Josie told The Guardian.

She added that they’re unsure how many people their venue can accommodate, and if they can have drinks and food outside. 

‘I don’t feel any the wiser,’ Josie admitted, pointing out that postponing would mean more months of stress.

Elsewhere, Megan Swan, 29, who is due to marry Dexter Hurlock, 30, at a ceremony in Cornwall on June 26, has already cut the guestlist to her wedding from 110 to 70. 

She said: ‘The last four days, we have just been going through hell and back. This is such a milestone event, we’ve been together seven years, and had been hoping and dreaming about this day.

‘With just immediate families and grandparents, we are up to 15 already. And then you have got to pick handful of friends and you’ve already hit 30.’ 

Another couple, Josie Collier, 28, and Jonny Pickles, 32, said they feel ‘let down and confused’ by the announcement

Megan Swan, 29, who is due to marry Dexter Hurlock, 30, at a ceremony in Cornwall on June 26, has cut the guestlist to her wedding

And Trudie Webb and Elliot Banks, from North Bradley in Wiltshire, are ready to reschedule their wedding for a fifth time if they are not allowed to celebrate with 120 of their friends and family.

The couple thought they would finally wed on July 23 but after yesterday’s announcement they are ready to move their £28,000 wedding again.

Miss Webb, 31, who works in finance, said: ‘This was the closest we got to having the wedding but it won’t be a wedding with all these restrictions.’  

Sam Penney and Steve Weaver could be forced to cut their guest list down from 139 so their wedding can go ahead on June 25.

The couple, from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, have so far spent £25,000 on the event.

They moved the wedding from June last year in order to get married in front of friends and family at Coltsfoot Country Retreat.

But the venue can only accommodate for around 80 guests indoors with social distancing in place.

Miss Penney, 36, said: ‘As more coronavirus restrictions were being lifted, we got more and more excited but within a couple of days of making all our orders we were back to square one.

‘It’s an awful feeling. It seems we are going around in circles.’   

And childhood sweethearts Harriet Reynolds and Kyle Ginn’s wedding still hangs in the balance following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday.

The couple – who have been together since they were 16 – are due to marry at a barn venue in Epping, Essex, on July 3 with just over 100 guests.

But they are still unsure if it will go ahead following the announcement that capacity at the venue will be subject to social distancing.

The couple, both 28, plan to contact their venue today to discuss their options but are fearful they may have to postpone to next summer.

Miss Reynolds, a freelance social media manager, said having no dancing, guests wearing masks for much of the occasion and mingling being restricted would ‘ruin the whole experience’. 

She added: ‘We’re lucky enough that the venue has lots of land so if we really did want to try to make it work this year and we needed to hire a marquee for a fully outdoor wedding we might have to look at that – but that’s going to cost us more.’ 

Trudie Webb and Elliot Banks, from North Bradley in Wiltshire, are ready to reschedule their wedding for a fifth time 

Sam Penney and Steve Weaver, from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, could be forced to cut their guest list down from 139 so their wedding can go ahead on June 25

Harriet Reynolds and Kyle Ginn’s wedding still hangs in the balance following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday

Yesterday, one bride-to-be said the delay in lifting all coronavirus restrictions on weddings was a ‘slap in the face’ for couples. 

Emma Ward, 30, who has had to postpone her wedding with fiancee John Bennett three times due to coronavirus restrictions, has called for more clarity on the rules.

Miss Ward, a project manager from Sheffield who lives in Newcastle, said: ‘With the lack of clarity and lack of acknowledgment about what we’ve all been through in the last 18 months, it feels like a bit of a slap in the face.

‘Seeing Boris get married recently and seeing all of this weekend’s antics with the G7 and the Euros with people celebrating in different capacities but meanwhile we’re being told we can’t celebrate in a secure capacity – they haven’t really considered us.

‘If you’re doing lateral flow tests for sporting events, why not do that for weddings?’

‘We’re a family that loves singing and dancing and giving each other a hug, we’re a very affectionate family, and if the guidelines that are in place mean that the venue can’t go ahead without a band for example or a dancefloor that would make us seriously consider what to do.

Miss Ward, who is still planning to go ahead with her ceremony at Newton Hall in Alnwick, Northumbria, with 45 guests on July 14, welcomed the 30-person limit being lifted but added couples are still unsure on how many people they can have at evening events following the ceremony.  

Emily Roome, 30, a solicitor from east London, said the social distancing restrictions could be ‘devastating’ for her wedding at Sibton Park Estate in Suffolk, and that she and her fiancee Andrew Love are now considering postponing from July 24.

The bride-to-be said: ‘He (Boris Johnson) completely ignored the question about why weddings can’t open up…

‘One thing that has always been really important for us is that we can celebrate how we want to celebrate.

‘We’re a family that loves singing and dancing and giving each other a hug, we’re a very affectionate family, and if the guidelines that are in place mean that the venue can’t go ahead without a band for example or a dancefloor that would make us seriously consider what to do…

‘If we got to the stage of feeling like postponing is what we have to do, I think it would be devastating to have got so close, to be told that actually you can’t go ahead with the wedding that you want to do, and we’d lose so much money.

‘There’s so much clarity that needs to happen, because it’s not just our emotions, it’s not just the day that we’ve planned and we’ve dreamed of, there are thousands of pounds that have gone into the planning and that have gone into making it our dream.’

Founder of event management company Sauveur, Matthew Shaw, added: ‘While people dance in bars and pubs, pack out stadiums, and hold large gatherings across the country, weddings must still be fully seated with no entertainment, dancing, or standing receptions.

‘The events industry has demonstrated time and again that these events can be operated safely.

‘If the Government is prepared to allow thousands of mask-less fans into Edgbaston or Wembley, then it is unclear whether it is disrespect for or a misunderstanding of the wedding industry that means the same measures are not extended to us.’      

Venues will be responsible for carrying out risk assessments before weddings that set out how many guests are allowed. The announcement comes amid growing anger from the wedding industry that the limits remained in place while large crowds were allowed to gather for events like Euro 2020 football matches. 

Last night there was relief that the limits on wedding numbers were being lifted after more than a year of restrictions that forced thousands of people to put off their nuptials – but sadness that couples and businesses still face many hurdles.

Tory MP Pauline Latham said: ‘So many couples have had to put their lives and even creating families on hold, and couples have had month after month of uncertainty and misery.

‘So I’m glad the Government has listened to some of the things we’ve been saying.’

Former Cabinet minister Esther McVey said: ‘For the thousands of people who rely on the weddings industry and the many couples who have suffered such heartache as they’ve been trying to get on with their lives over the last year and a half, there is at least some progress today.

‘But with all the restrictions still in place, and the Government regulating where and how we can dance, sing and embrace, it will feel to many as though nothing whatsoever has changed.’          

Addressing the nation last night, Mr Johnson said: ‘To give the NHS that extra time, we will hold off Step Four openings until July 19, except for weddings that can still go ahead with more than 30 guests provided social distancing remains in place, and the same will apply to wakes.’ 

The UK Weddings Taskforce, an industry group, had earlier estimated 50,000 nuptials planned in for the four weeks from June 21 could be cancelled if restrictions had remain in place. 

They calculated the industry would lose £325million for every week that weddings without restrictions fail to go ahead. Mark Dawson, of the Wedding Venue Support Group, said the 30-capacity figure was based on a hunch from scientists last year and had not been backed up with any hard data since.

He said: ‘Eighty people can sit inside a pub, but if you put a bride and groom in there, you can only have 30 in there, it doesn’t make sense and there’s no scientific evidence to back it up.’

The Prime Minister tonight dramatically delayed Freedom Day by another four weeks to prevent up to 500 deaths a day after scientists warned the Indian variant could be 80 per cent more infectious.  

Newlywed Boris Johnson axes 30-guest wedding cap but BANS dancing – as couples face having to slash numbers anyway because venues must be able to socially distance guests

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent, and Hayley Richardson for MailOnline 

Boris Johnson gave some respite to couples waiting to get married today as he lifted the 30-guest limit on services and receptions.

From next Monday marriages will be allowed to go ahead with no fixed size limit despite the pause to lifting lockdown announced by the PM tonight. 

Instead they will be allowed to be as large as is permissible at the venue under social distancing guidelines that remain in place.

It comes amid growing anger from the wedding industry that the limits remained in place while large crowds were allowed to gather for events like Euro 2020 football matches.  

Wedding guests will have to remain seated at tables of no more than six, and in a blow to the celebratory nature of the day, the current ban on dancing indoors will remain in place over transmission fears. 

The only exception will be the cuple’s first dance. 

Venues will be responsible for carrying out risk assessments before weddings that set out how many guests are allowed. 

Addressing the nation tonight, Mr Johnson said: ‘To give the NHS that extra time, we will hold off Step Four openings until July 19, except for weddings that can still go ahead with more than 30 guests provided social distancing remains in place, and the same will apply to wakes.’ 

The UK Weddings Taskforce, an industry group, had earlier estimated 50,000 nuptials planned in for the four weeks from June 21 could be cancelled if restrictions had remain in place. 

They calculated the industry would lose £325million for every week that weddings without restrictions fail to go ahead. Mark Dawson, of the Wedding Venue Support Group, said the 30-capacity figure was based on a hunch from scientists last year and had not been backed up with any hard data since.

From next Monday marriages will be allowed to go ahead with no fixed size limit despite the pause to lifting lockdown announced by the PM tonight.

The Prime Minister married Carrie Symonds in a Covid-restricted ceremony at Westminster cathedral last month.

Mr Johnson was accused of hypocrisy after images showed world leaders gathered together on the sands of Carbis Bay in Cornwall. 

He said: ‘Eighty people can sit inside a pub, but if you put a bride and groom in there, you can only have 30 in there, it doesn’t make sense and there’s no scientific evidence to back it up.’

The Prime Minister tonight dramatically delayed Freedom Day by another four weeks to prevent up to 500 deaths a day after scientists warned the Indian variant could be 80 per cent more infectious.  

Megan Swan, 29, who is due to marry fiance Dexter Hurlock, 30, in Cornwall on June 26, has already cut her 110-strong guest list once, to 70 people.

She said: ‘When Boris announced the road map, to be honest, I thought the sun was shining down on us that day. But the last four days, we have just been going through hell and back.

‘This is such a milestone event, we’ve been together seven years, and had been hoping and dreaming about this day and wanting to celebrate it with everyone.

‘We are one of three children, so with just immediate families and grandparents, we are up to 15 already. And then you have got to pick a literal handful of friends and you’ve already hit 30.’

She said 90 per cent of her guests have had at least one vaccine dose and they have encouraged all their guests to take regular Covid tests in the week leading up to the wedding.

‘We are willing to jump through any hoops to try and make it happen,’ she said.

This morning a senior minister had hinted that the changes were on the way.

Health Minister Edward Argar said couples waiting to wed were ‘very much’ in the mind of Boris Johnson.

He told Sky News: ‘There will be a lot of couples who planned, hoped, to do it, put a line through it, done it again and rescheduled again.

‘Not only does that cost money, but emotionally that is incredibly difficult for couples who want to have their special day and want to get married.

‘Again, I’m not going to pre-empt what the Prime Minister will say later, but I know that weddings and people in that particular situation will be very much in his mind at the moment, it’s one of the things he has been looking at.’

Edward Argar said couples waiting to wed are ‘very much’ in the mind of Boris Johnson at the moment ahead of an announcement due this evening.

Mr Johnson also attracted anger from the wedding industry over a G7 beach barbecue at the weekend. 

He was accused of hypocrisy after images showed world leaders gathered together on the sands of Carbis Bay in Cornwall.

No 10 denied the feast on Saturday breached current Covid rules – which allow 30 people to gather together outside. 

Giving the bad news at a Downing Street briefing this evening, the PM defied fury from Tory MPs and the hospitality industry to insisted he cannot press ahead until more people are double-jabbed.

Government experts have told the premier that the Indian – or Delta strain – is far more transmissible than the Kent version, while single doses of vaccines are thought to be less effective in countering it.

Allowing the relaxation could put millions of people who have yet to have a jab at risk, as well as those who have only had one dose and elderly people who remain vulnerable.

The move means that current rules will essentially remain in place until July 19 – with social distancing in force in bars and restaurants, and the edict to work from home where possible staying.

At the same time the vaccine rollout will be intensified, with dosing intervals reduced to eight weeks. As a result around two thirds of adults could have been double-jabbed by July 19.   

Government experts say hospitalisations should be slashed by between half and a third as a result, preventing ‘thousands’ of deaths. Modellers have indicated that otherwise hospital admissions could hit 2,000, with 250 or even 500 deaths a day possible.   

In a sop to critics, Mr Johnson is offering a ‘break clause’ with another review of the situation in two weeks’ time – although officials warned that it is very unlikely to conclude restrictions can be eased quicker. 

And the premier is adamant that there will be no further slippage from the new July 19 timetable. One aide said almost all the ‘benefit’ from additional jabs will have accrued by that date.

‘The PM is confident we won’t need any more than a four week delay,’ the aide said.  

But Mr Johnson’s own MPs are livid at the move, with fears running high that this delay is only the first and lockdown might not be dropped at all.

He will face a Commons showdown with them on Wednesday, with the new regulations requiring a debate and a vote. 

Although they are certain to go through with Labour support, the scale of the rebellion from Tory MPs will show the level of anger he is facing.

Vice chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs Sir Charles Walker said that ‘existing isn’t living’ as he raised concerns that restrictions will stay in place all summer. 

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