Government could overrule scientific advisers to relax two-metre social distancing rule as Boris Johnson urges people to return to shops

The government could overrule its scientific and medical advisers to relax the two-metre coronavirus social distancing rule, the chancellor has said – as Boris Johnson urged Britons to head back to the shops.

Rishi Sunak pronounced on Sunday that “advisers advise ministers, who are elected to make decisions” after he was asked whether it would be politicians or senior experts like Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty who would have the final say on what was safe.

Senior figures within the Conservative Party and business lobby groups have been urging the government to relax the rule for fear it could make reopening their premises unprofitable, but Labour warned that the government should follow the science and ensure that workplaces are safe before people return.

It comes as a further 36 deaths from coronavirus were recorded on Sunday, taking the total to 41,698. The total is among the highest of any

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