A Cumbrian PR boss says the government are facing a ‘PR nightmare’ as Boris Johnson says UK will be moving to Plan B of the COVID winter plan.

The PM confirmed on Wednesday, December 8, the Government is moving to its coronavirus Plan B in the wake of rapidly increasing cases of the omicron variant.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Johnson issued new guidance to work from home where possible from Monday, 13th December, but the reaction from the public, fellow MPs and the opposition has been far from supportive.

Oliver Hodgson, the founder and managing director of PR agency Platinum Live, said: “This ought to be every PR professional’s worst nightmare, losing trust and credibility in the height of growing concern over the danger the Omicron variant presents.

“The scandal of the Christmas party last year, with a video recently obtained by ITV News showing Allegra Stratton laughing with No 10 staff about an alleged Covid-rule-breaking party in Downing, has completely undermined the trust people have towards the government.

“The announcement of the Plan B measures, couldn’t have come at a worse time, it has now totally placed the credibility of the government on the line, as to some it looks like a cover-up of the rapidly unfolding Christmas party scandal.

“This will be of real concern for the Conservative Party. I believe people are really pulling the straw at this one, you only need to scroll through social media to see people’s true feelings and reactions.

“One that stuck out to me was a friend who said that he’d stuck up for Boris throughout the pandemic, but this was the ‘icing on the cake’, I think that speaks for a lot of people across the country. I would imagine the Number 10 communications team are scrambling to rectify this disaster and spin something of the back of it.”

In late November face coverings were made compulsory in shops and on public transport, and all contacts of suspected Omicron cases were told to self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status.

Johnson extended the legal requirements this week along with a raft of new measures including advising people to work from home and announcing the requirement for vaccine passports for nightclubs and other specified venues.