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Richard Madeley clashes with Dr Hilary Jones on GMB

Richard Madeley clashed with Dr Hilary Jones on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain as he argued against a delay to lockdown easing on June 21.

The show’s guest host, 65, became visibly angry when discussing recent reports that the final stage of easing could be delayed by two weeks. 

Ministers are inching closer to making the call on whether to stick to the road map Boris Johnson announced back in February. 

On the potential delay being enforced, Richard asked Dr Hilary, 67,: ‘You’re going to agree, aren’t you?’, to which he replied: ‘I am.’ 

Heated: Richard Madeley (pictured) clashed with Dr Hilary Jones on Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain as he argued against a delay to lockdown easing on June 21

He continued: ‘I mean, we’re looking at rising cases, we’re looking at a population where – still – only 75 per cent have had the first jab and just over half have had the second jabs. 

‘So a lot of people unprotected with a variant which is pretty nasty.

‘So the idea of mass gatherings, the idea of people abandoning masks, hand sanitising and social distancing is crazy at a time when things are getting worse.’

Tense: On the potential delay being enforced, Richard asked Dr Hilary, 67, (pictured): 'You're going to agree, aren't you?', to which he replied: 'I am'

Tense: On the potential delay being enforced, Richard asked Dr Hilary, 67, (pictured): ‘You’re going to agree, aren’t you?’, to which he replied: ‘I am’

However in response, Richard insisted that due to the successful vaccine roll out in the UK, the government should allow the lockdown restrictions to lift. 

He argued: ‘But we have government ministers who have said – repeatedly now after two weeks ago – that the vaccines have broken the link between Covid and hospitalisations and deaths. They’ve broken the link.’

Refusing to back down, Dr Hilary said: ‘And that is why we need to be a little more patient, get everybody vaccinated and then we can start thinking about lifting restrictions. 

Argument: The show's guest host Richard, 65, became visibly angry when discussing recent reports that the final stage of easing could be delayed by two weeks

Argument: The show’s guest host Richard, 65, became visibly angry when discussing recent reports that the final stage of easing could be delayed by two weeks

Opinions: Richard insisted that due to the successful vaccine roll out in the UK, the government should allow the lockdown restrictions to lift

Opinions: Richard insisted that due to the successful vaccine roll out in the UK, the government should allow the lockdown restrictions to lift

Freedom day could be delayed by a fortnight after Chris Whitty delivered a ‘downbeat’ assessment to ministers, it was claimed today.

The June 21 milestone could be pushed back to allow all over-50s to be fully vaccinated and give time for the jabs to take effect.

The Cabinet are split on the issue with some urging Boris Johnson to exercise caution while others say the focus must now shift to the economic recovery.

In a round of interviews this morning, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government ‘don’t rule anything out’ in terms of changing the timetable.

Having her say: Susanna Reid, 50, then pointed out that the vaccination protects well against the Indian variant

Having her say: Susanna Reid, 50, then pointed out that the vaccination protects well against the Indian variant

But he also insisted that the data on vaccines were ‘encouraging’ and a final decision will not be taken until next Monday.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock – one of the main ‘doves’ in government – announced that surge testing and vaccines are being extended to Greater Manchester and Lancashire in response to Indian variant cases.

Medical and science chiefs Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly gave a ‘fairly grim’ update on the situation to ministers, underlining that jabs can never provide 100 per cent protection and variants are significantly more transmissible.

Whitehall sources said contingency plans are being drawn up for a possible ‘short’ delay to give scientists more time to consider data and allow the NHS to carry out more vaccinations.

One cabinet source told The Times they expected to see a delay of ‘between two weeks and a month’. 

They said there was not much concern about political backlash as long as the full reopening happened before schools break for summer on July 23.

Mr Hancock and Michael Gove are among those pushing a more dovish approach, while Rishi Sunak and Grant Shapps want to avoid delay. 

Despite the vaccine success, some ministers and officials have been spooked by a surge in Covid cases – with a 68 per cent rise today compared to last week.  

However, those cases have so far not fed through into hospitalisations and deaths, suggesting immunity levels are offering substantial protection. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk