The second national lockdown in England will officially end on December 2 and the Prime Minister has outlined a controversial plan to divide the country into three tiers. The regional approach will place 99 percent of the UK into the toughest tier 2 and tier 3 restrictions – which will enforce curbs on the hospitality sector and a ban households mixing indoors.
Environment Secretary George Eustice has warned up to 100 Tory backbench MPs could vote down the plans in the Commons on Tuesday.
Conservative rebels are seeking concrete reassurances over the health and economic benefits of the tier-based system amid growing anger from constituents in low-risk areas.
Pressure has grown on the Government to soften its approach after a new report found the huge sacrifice of the British public throughout the past four weeks has driven down COVID-19 infections.
A monthly survey of 105,000 people by Imperial College London has found cases of coronavirus have fallen by around 30 percent.
The study estimated the daily number of new infections fell to 72,000 per day between November 13 and 24 – compared to 100,000 new infections per day at the end of October.
The Department for Health also confirmed there was 12,155 cases and 215 deaths in the latest 24-hour period – compared to 18,662 cases and 398 deaths last Sunday.
Last week, the Government announced three households could mix over Christmas for five days from December 23-27.
Over the weekend, Mr Johnson wrote to Conservative MPs and offered parliament a greater say in future decision-making in order to fend off a rebellion in the Commons.
The Prime Minister has offered a review on the restrictions on December 16 as well as post-Christmas vote.
Mr Johnson indicated the restrictions would expire on February 3 and implied the vote to extend them would come in late January.
He said: “These will not be easy decisions. With Christmas round the corner, and the difficult months of January and February ahead, we will need to continue to exercise caution.”
Mr Johnson insisted “no prime minister wants to impose restrictions which cause such harm to society, the economy and people’s mental health”.
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Later today, Downing Street will publish an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of coronavirus and the measures taken to suppress it.
The document will include forecasts from the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Speaking this morning, Mr Eustice acknowledged the Prime Minister faces an uphill battle to convince MPs and warned of a three-figure rebellion on Tuesday.
He said: “The chief whip will be talking to those MPs who have concerns.
“I’ve seen suggestions there could be up to a 100 or so people that have got concerns, but the Prime Minister and other ministers will be working very hard to reassure them about the steps we are taking.”