Boris Johnson 'did not impose new lockdown over fears Rishi Sunak would quit'


Boris Johnson ditched plans to introduce a second lockdown as he was worried Rishi Sunak would quit his job, it has been reported.

The Chancellor reportedly said imposing new national restrictions such as a lockdown would make his job almost impossible.

Medical and scientific experts urged the Government to introduce new restrictions after a spike in coronavirus cases.

After a crucial summit, Mr Sunak and the Prime Minister reportedly had a one-to-one meeting in which the Chancellor said he “wouldn’t wear it”.

A source told The Sun : “There were fears he would find it difficult to carry on if he was ignored.

This week Rishi Sunak confirmed he would not extend the furlough scheme

“It was all down to the Chancellor that we avoided delivering a hammer blow to the economy and took a more balanced approach instead. Rishi saved the day.”

Downing Street insisted neither the Chancellor nor any government advisers threatened to resign over the restrictions.

A source close to Mr Johnson said: “The Prime Minister listened to a full range of arguments before deciding the next course of action.

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty (right) and Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance

“He took a balanced approach, with maximum social measures to drive down the infection rate while having minimum impact on the economy.”

This week the Chancellor confirmed he would not extend the furlough scheme, which saved thousands of jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He announced a new ‘ Jobs Support Scheme ‘ instead to top up the wages of employees in “viable jobs”.

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He said it would give businesses the option of keeping people in work on shorter hours.

But the Government will pay 22 per cent of the overall wages of eligible workers under the scheme.

“The company will pay its workers for the time they are in work,” Rishi Sunak said.

“And the government and the employer jointly will subsidise the time that the worker is not working.

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in the UK

“The conditions will be set out in guidance which will be published shortly, then over the next few weeks the further details will be worked through with businesses and unions.”

The Treasury said the scheme, which is set to launch on November 1, would be open to employees working at least a third of their normal hours.

The Government has imposed local lockdowns in areas badly affected by Covid-19, but has ruled out a second national lockdown.

Announcing new restrictions and fines this week, however, the PM said if the virus continues spreading, he will not hesitate to bring in tougher measures.

More than a quarter of the UK population will be living under extra coronavirus restrictions when new measures on socialising come into force in parts of the country from today.

As of 6pm on Sunday 17million people in the UK will be living under tighter coronavirus restrictions thanks to local lockdowns.

People in the Welsh town of Llanelli are set to be banned from entering each other’s homes and gardens from 6pm today, followed by Cardiff and Swansea a day later.

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The Welsh lockdowns come hot on the heels of ones in Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds which came into force at midnight on Friday.

Restrictions have been in force across large swathes of north-west England, West Yorkshire, the North East and the Midlands, as well as parts of west Scotland for weeks and even months in some cases.





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