A Labour MP has demanded Boris Johnson come clean about the risk of a third lockdown and accused the PM of not giving the public the full story on how effective the new tiered lockdown system will be.
In a heated exchange in the House of Commons, Chris Bryant MP said that he thought it was “almost certainly” going to go back into lockdown in January.
In response to Tory MP Desmond Swayne challenging the Labour’s decision not to back tonight’s vote confirming the restrictions, despite backing moves to contain the virus, Mr Bryant suggested that MPs were sick of the PM telling porkies.
Mr Bryant said: “A lot of us are concerned that the prime minister doesn’t give the full story to the house and the nation.
“The truth is we are almost certainly going to see another lockdown in January – a full lockdown across the United Kingdom.
“I hear the Prime Minister say it is not what he wants – it is not what any of us want.
“But we have to be honest and straightforward with the British people and these measures today are not sufficient.”
It came as Mr Johnson announced £1,000 for each pub forced to remain closed by the new tiers of coronavirus controls as he looks to ward off a Conservative rebellion over his post-lockdown plan.
Opening the debate on the tiers system in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said all “wet pubs” – establishments that do not serve food – will receive £1,000 to “recognise how hard they have been hit” by Covid controls during what would typically be their busiest time of year.
MPs are due to vote on Tuesday on measures that would put 99% of England’s population into the tough measures of Tier 2 and Tier 3 when the second national lockdown ends on Wednesday.
Pubs will only be allowed to open in Tier 2 if they can act as a restaurant, while those in Tier 3 will only be permitted to serve takeaway.
Mr Johnson reeled off a list of support already announced for the hospitality sector, before telling MPs: “Today we’re going further, with a one-off payment of £1,000 in December to wet pubs – that’s pubs that do not serve food.
“Recognising how hard they’ve been hit by this virus in what is typically their busiest month.”
The Prime Minister, who faced barbed questions from disgruntled Tories during his hospitality announcement, is looking to face down a rebellion over his tiers proposal, with many furious that their constituencies face stricter controls than before the latest lockdown.
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been designated for the lightest Tier 1 restrictions.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson acknowledged “people’s feelings of injustice” about the tiers they had been placed in.
“There’s no question people feel that they have been unfairly attracted, by proximity, into a higher tier than they deserve,” he said.
“People also feel that the tiering is not working for them.”
The Conservative Party leader indicated that the Government would look at smaller areas when deciding tiering arrangements in future – a key demand of Tories concerned that low infection rates in some areas were not being reflected in the restrictions being imposed.
“We will try to be as sensitive as possible to local efforts and to local achievements in bringing that pandemic under control,” he added.