By Rachael Grealish
The Prime Minister has spoken out following conflicting comments from other ministers who say the upcoming national lockdown could go beyond its December 2 end.
Putting forward his lockdown plans to the House of Commons today, Monday November 2, Boris Johnson said the month-long lockdown will end on December 2 ‘without a shred of a doubt’.
On Saturday October 31 the PM announced England would be entering a second national, four week, lockdown – similar to that in spring but with some changes, such as schools, colleges and universities staying open.
The Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, suggested on Sunday November 1 the lockdown could last longer than the four weeks, when speaking to Sky News.
However, the PM has said without a shred of doubt, the restrictions will come to an end in December as regulations are time limited, but what happens then will depend on the data.
He said: “Mr Speaker let me stress that these restrictions are time limited.
“After four weeks, on Wednesday 2nd December, they will expire and we intend to return to a tiered system on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends, and the House will have a vote to agree the way forward.
“We have updated the devolved administrations on the action we are taking in England and will continue to work with them on plans for Christmas and beyond,” insisting England will go back to the tiered system after the lockdown.
Johnson came under scrutiny by the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, who accused the PM of ‘catastrophic failure of leadership and judgment’.
The Labour Leader said: “At every stage the prime minister has been too slow and behind the curve.
“At every stage, he has pushed away challenge, ignored advice and put what he hoped would happen ahead of what is happening.
“At every stage he has over-promised and under delivered.
“Rejecting the advice of his own scientists for 40 days was a catastrophic failure of leadership and of judgement.
“The prime minister now needs to explain to the British people why he failed to act and to listen for so long.”
However, the PM retorted he made ‘no apology’ of trying to avoid a national lockdown with localised restrictions.
The Prime Minister also apologised to businesses and the self employed for the ‘anguish’ the lockdown may cause.
He said: “ I am truly sorry for the anguish these measures will impose particularly for businesses which had just got back on their feet. Businesses across the country who had gone to such trouble to make themselves COVID secure, to install Perspex screens, to do the right thing.
“Each of these actions has helped to bring the R down and their hard work, your hard work will stand them in good stead, will stand you in good stead, but it is now clear that we must do more together.
“So the Government will continue to do everything possible to support jobs and livelihoods in the next four weeks as we have throughout. We protected almost 10 million jobs with furlough and we’re now extending the scheme throughout November.
“We’ve already paid out £13.7 billion to help the self-employed and I can announce today that for November we will double our support from 40 to 80% of trading profits.”
As the days edge closer to the MP’s vote on the lockdown, Wednesday November 4, the COVID cases continue to rises:
- The UK has recorded 18,950 further cases of coronavirus. That is 18 percent down on the total for yesterday (23,254) and 9 percent down on the total for Monday last week (20,890).
- The UK has recorded 136 further deaths. That is 16 percent down on the total for yesterday (162) but 33 percent up on the total for Monday last week (102).