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Robert Jenrick cabinet minister insisted today that the areas could emerge from the brutal Level 3 blockade before Christmas as the government desperately tries to quell a Tory revolt.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said there was “ every reason to believe ” that restrictions may be loosened in some places over the next few weeks, even though other ministers have told MPs that there is little chance of That happens before January.
Peace of mind came with Boris Johnson going to war with his own MPs over the new lockdown system that will keep 99 percent of the country below levels 2 and 3 after December 2.
Up to 70 Conservative MPs, even in traditional territories like Kent, threaten to rebel after it emerged that people will only be able to socialize indoors and have a drink without eating in pubs in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly. .
Conservatives have warned that the prime minister will face the “biggest revolt in this Parliament” when the plan is put to the Commons vote on Tuesday.
Labor is unlikely to oppose the measures, meaning they will almost certainly pass, but a major riot would be another major blow to Johnson’s authority.
Hospitality bosses said three-quarters of pubs and restaurants would be “unfeasible” under the draconian rules that will leave 32 million people at Level 2 and 23 million at Level 3.
Rural places like the Kent town of Penshurst, which has only had three cases in the past week, have plunged into Level 3 because they are under a local authority with high infection rates.
The prime minister responded at a press conference last night with a warning that Britain could face a third national lockdown in January unless the people adhere to the tough new regime.
But in a round of interviews this morning, Mr. Jenrick tried to defuse tensions by emphasizing that there will be a review of Tier allocations on December 16, and then they will be reviewed again each week.
‘It’s possible. There will be a checkpoint in 14 days, around December 16. At that time, advised by the experts, we will analyze each area of local authority and see if there is a possibility of lowering the levels, ” he told Sky News. .
However, MPs have told MailOnline that Health Minister Helen Whately said in a conference call yesterday that there was little chance of changes to the allocations before January. And government sources told the Times it would have to wait until the impact of the relaxation of the ‘Christmas bubble’ became apparent.
Boris Johnson was at war with his own MPs last night over virus curbs that could keep 99 per cent of the country in ‘virtual lockdown’ until spring
At a 10th press conference last night after being released from two weeks of isolation, Johnson acknowledged that the UK was facing a “harsh winter” and apologized to the hotel industry.
He said the second lockdown had worked to bring the pandemic under control, but added: ‘If we relax now, we risk losing control of this virus again, setting aside our hard-earned gains and forcing us back into a New Year. . national blockade with all the damage that would mean. ‘
Johnson denied that the harsh new restrictions amounted to a back door closure, noting that stores, barber shops and gyms can reopen on all three levels starting Dec. 2.
He insisted that communities trapped at the highest levels could move to a more relaxed regime if the number of cases decreased, adding: ‘Their level is not their destiny.’
But it was undermined by medical director Chris Whitty, who said it will probably be “months” before a significant part of the country can move to the lowest level.
Former Cabinet Minister Damian Green, whose Kent constituency has been placed at the top three despite a relatively low case rate, predicted a widespread revolt by Tory MPs next week.
“The government is in more trouble than it thinks,” he said. “These decisions have infuriated many in the conservative heart, as well as many of our newly won constituencies in the North and Midlands.
“It could be before the biggest rebellion of this Parliament.”
Yesterday’s decision left almost all of England in the first two tiers. The rugged new system will replace the lock on December 2 and remain until April.
The figures showed that only 713,573 people will be placed in Level One, which is equivalent to 1.3 percent of the population. By comparison, 42 percent of England were at Level One before the month-long lockdown.
Some 32.2 million people are now at Level Two, equivalent to 57.2 percent of the population. At this level, people are prohibited from socializing with other households indoors and pubs can only serve alcohol with a “substantial meal.”
Another 23.3 million, 41.5% of the population, are in Level Three. At this level, pubs and restaurants can only serve take-out customers, and indoor entertainment such as cinemas, bowling alleys, and children’s play centers must close.
Areas at level three include Birmingham, Greater Manchester, Bristol, the North East, Humberside, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Kent.
Despite assurances about the reviews, a congressman from the Northeast told MailOnline that Ms. Whately was “monstrous” in a conference call with area politicians yesterday.
She apparently made a mistake right away by making a mistake in the current level ranking.
“She had a bad time,” said the Labor MP. She started by saying, ‘you are now at Level 3’. Everybody said, “no we’re not.”
Ms. Whately was said to have told the multi-party group that it was “likely” that they would be at Level 3 through January, despite the prospect of three allocation reviews prior to that date.
“The conservatives were not happy at all,” said the deputy. ‘One said’ how are we going to get out of this then? ‘ “She was monstrous.”
The growing conservative rebellion in Westminster could see the prime minister having to rely on Labor support for the measures to pass through the Commons next Tuesday.
Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, told the BBC: ‘I will vote against. I have serious reservations on so many different levels. I think the policies have been too authoritarian.
Former ministers Liam Fox and John Penrose criticized the ‘illogical decision’ to place their Somerset constituencies at Level Three because of its proximity to Bristol.
which provided the dramatic backdrop to TV crime series Broadchurch, is the only place in England where no positive tests have been reported since March
These are some of the most idyllic places in the country and, happily, largely free from coronavirus infection thanks to their comparatively remote settings.
However, after yesterday’s government announcement of the three tiers, these postcard towns and resorts are now subject to draconian restrictions simply because they are in regions where the rate is higher elsewhere.
It goes without saying that the residents of these beautiful places are furious at the unjustified limitations on their freedom.
A resort that has not yet registered a case of Covid is being subjected to the same harsh restrictions as cities where thousands of people have fallen ill.
West Bay, which provided the dramatic backdrop for the television crime series Broadchurch, is the only place in England where no positive evidence has been reported since March.
However, starting next week, the Dorset fishing village will be on Level Two, which means friends will be banned from gathering indoors and pubs will have to remain closed unless meals are served.
Dorset MP Conor Burns said: ‘It’s very unfair. There is widespread frustration and disappointment that Dorset has entered the national lockdown and comes out with more restrictions at the end. ” The Conservative MP from Bournemouth West added: “Because we have a slightly older demographic, people have been very sensible and cautious, but now we are being given tighter controls.”
Figures from Public Health England for 6,800 of England’s smallest areas, those with populations below 7,000, show that West Bay is one of only two where there has not been a Covid cluster. Locals say they expected outbreaks after visitors flocked there in summer, but none emerged. However, companies now face the same strict rules as Liverpool and London.
The pubs hope to reopen next week, but they will still lose money over Christmas. “We do a lot of Christmas parties, 20 to 30 people at a time, but now we can’t do anything like that,” said a bartender.
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‘WE ARE A WORLD APART HERE IN THE COUNTRY’
A parish council president, farmer Hayden Fortune, is not aware of any cases in his local villages of Bolton-by-Bowland, Gisburn Forest and Sawley (in the photo, the owners of the Coach and Horses pub in the area) +24
A parish council president, farmer Hayden Fortune, is not aware of any cases in his local villages of Bolton-by-Bowland, Gisburn Forest and Sawley (pictured, the owners of the Coach and Horses pub in the area)
The towns of the picturesque Ribble Valley in Lancashire are furious that they have been clustered in Level Three with urban areas having much higher infection rates.
The rural district had just 117 new cases in the week through Nov. 22, but those were sky-high rates of more than 500 per 100,000 in nearby towns like Preston, Burnley and Blackburn, pushing the entire county to the toughest level.
A parish council president, farmer Hayden Fortune, is not aware of any cases in his local villages of Bolton-by-Bowland, Gisburn Forest and Sawley.
“It’s absolute madness,” she said. “People are furious because they feel they have done everything that has been asked of them, but they get nothing in return.
“That people cannot go sit and eat with their own family, sitting apart from the next table, is crazy. She’s killing these towns. ‘
Sue Lord, 54, of the Coach and Horses in Bolton-by-Bowland, added: ‘It seems so unfair. It has no logic. Here in the country we are a world apart. ‘
Local Conservative MP Nigel Evans said he was “bitterly disappointed,” adding: “What is sorely needed is some political nuance rather than a blunt one-size-fits-all instrument.”
But one Twitter user said the MP’s concern was “too little, too late.” “You should have been discussing the Ribble Vlley case long before.”
Blinkered, blundering and utterly defying logic
Imagine that around this time last year someone had described what Britain would be like in December 2020.
They would tell of a country in which a large part of the population had spent endless months locked up at home.
Where business after business was headed for the wall, where children were sent home from school because a classmate had a cold – and where, as Christmas and New Years approached, British citizens were being instructed, under penalty of heavy fines, how many people can celebrate the season with.
It would have been truly inconceivable.
Yet this is where we stand, and following the government’s most recent draconian pronouncement yesterday, this will be the future for a long time to come.
I thought I couldn’t be more surprised and dismayed by the increasingly authoritarian and meddlesome strategies of Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, always with their phalanx of irresponsible scientists.