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Last week, when Boris Johnson wrote a letter to President Macron about possible solutions to the Channel crossings crisis and released it to the media simultaneously, the French government reacted furiously, arguing that this was little more than a publicity stunt designed to boost Johnson’s standing with British voters and that, if he were serious about trying to reach agreement with Macron, the last thing he would do would be negotiate in public.

Johnson’s private reaction to the Sturgeon/Drakeford letter may be quite similar to Macron’s response to his. But in the light of what happened last week, of course he could not say that publicly.

Is the comparison fair? In many respects, no. Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford are both more serious, and less provocative leaders than Johnson, and the approach they set out in their letter is entirely consistent with the approach they have taken throughout the pandemic, when they have been notably more cautious about opening up than the UK government. And, in his letter, Johnson was proposed something totally unacceptable to French voters (that they just take back people who cross the Channel on small boats). The Sturgeon/Drakeford travel proposal would probably be popular with British voters, who have consistently backed tougher restrictions than those advocated by Johnson.

But Sturgeon and Drakeford may be going beyond the scientific consensus. We have not heard large numbers of Sage scientists over the weekend calling for eight-day quarantine for all arrivals to the UK.

And the two first ministers must know that their proposal would be unacceptable to a significant number of Conservative MPs, who are aggressively opposed to anything that they view as a move back towards lockdown. It is very hard to imagine Johnson agreeing to this without much, much stronger pressure for this from his own advisers, and so in that respect this does seem like a move likely to demonstrate how hamstrung Johnson is by the Tory right.

That won’t be the main motivation, almost certainly, but for the SNP, and Welsh Labour, it will be a happy bonus.

It is more probable that Johnson might agree to a four-nations Cobra meeting, although this could be downgraded to a meeting of the joint ministerial committee. At the start of the pandemic there were regular four-nations Cobra meetings. But over time No 10 lost their enthusiasm for them, partly because they thought that Sturgeon turned up and then made a point of announcing her own post-Cobra decisions ahead of the PM.

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/uk-covid-live-scottish-and-welsh-governments-call-for-eight-day-quarantine-for-all-new-arrivals-to-uk/ar-AARfAZO

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