Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of having “lost control of the virus” and demanded the new restrictions. However, the policy was sharply criticised by a man in the Question Time audience who argued it will only delay the problem.
Addressing Bridget Phillipson, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, he said: “You talk about a two to three-week circuit breaker.
“Circuit breaker is just fancy language for lockdown.
“We had a three-week circuit breaker in March. We’re now seven or eight months into it.
“So what on earth are we going to achieve in two to three-weeks that we haven’t in seven to eight months?
“There no guarantee it would end in two to three-weeks. We would be in exactly the same position, just at a later date.
“We aren’t dealing with the problem, we’re just pushing it further and further down the line in my opinion.”
Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise across the UK.
Lockdowns have already been imposed on Northern Ireland and Wales by devolved administrations.
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Question Time host Fiona Bruce questioned whether two to-three weeks would be enough time to establish a working test and trace system.
Ms Phillipson replied: “I think there are immediate changes the Government could make to get the system working better.
“Give greater powers to local councils to run some of that system, who are much better connected to what’s going on than this privatised model we’ve got going on at the moment.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic there was no audience at Thursday’s edition of Question Time and the panel were socially distanced.
Questions were asked via video app by residents of Sedgefield in County Durham.
On Thursday the UK recorded another 189 deaths from people who had been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Another 21,242 cases of COVID-19 were also confirmed.
Wales enters a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown at 18:00 on Friday.
Greater Manchester is also joining Liverpool and Lancashire in Tier 3, meaning people can’t socialise outside of their household either inside or outdoors.
Separately Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced changes to the Job Support Scheme, which replaces furlough next month, doubling the taxpayer contribution for each affected person.