England’s coronavirus restrictions will ‘expire on February 3’ – according to a letter to MPs on Saturday evening.
Boris Johnson has written to Conservative MPs and will offer them a second vote on the coronavirus tier system early next year, while seeking to prevent a backbench rebellion in the House of Commons this week.
The prime minister has angered part of his party with a plan to impose severe restrictions in much of England when the national lockdown ends on Wednesday, and could struggle to get the measures through parliament on Tuesday.
But in a letter to colleagues on Saturday night, Mr. Johnson said the regulations would include an expiration date – or expiration date – of Feb. 3, giving MPs the chance to vote to extend them.
The government will review the levels of the local areas every fortnight and will submit the regulations to parliament after the fourth review on January 27, which will determine whether the tier system will remain in effect until the end of March.
Mr. Johnson also said the first such review, on Dec. 16, would consider the views of local health directors, with a final decision on whether areas should change levels made in a cabinet committee. The changes will take effect on December 19.
In another olive branch for MPs, the prime minister pledged to publish more data and outline what conditions need to change in order for an area to go down one level, as well as an analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the measures being taken. taken to suppress the coronavirus. .
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are in the lightest Tier 1 controls, while large areas of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive Tier 3.
In total, 99% of England will enter levels 2 or 3, with strict restrictions on bars and restaurants and a ban on indoor mixing for households when the four-week national lockdown is lifted on Wednesday.
Several senior Tories have voiced their opposition to the plan, including the 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady, who said he wanted people to be ‘treated like adults’ and to be familiar with their own health decisions.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions: “I find so many people engage in fully responsible ways of trying to make sure they can continue some kind of family life, some kind of social life, but are safe and responsible.
“Older people in particular, who are typically more vulnerable to Covid-19, are also likely to be the people most responsible.”
Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, who represents South Thanet, which has the second highest R-rate in the UK, said he plans to vote against the new tiered restrictions on Tuesday.
He told BBC Breakfast he would prefer natural ‘self-regulation’ instead, which he says happens when people see the R-rate start to rise in their environment.
But Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, urged MPs to think about what the NHS might look like in January, saying, “You need to take the precautions now to make sure the NHS doesn’t get overwhelmed at what is always the busiest time. of the year. “
Mr Johnson acknowledged on Friday that people felt “frustrated”, especially in areas with low infection rates, which are now facing tighter restrictions than before the lockdown.
He said, “The trouble is, if you did it any other way, you would first of all divide the country into a lot of very complicated subdivisions – there has to be some simplicity and clarity in the way we do this.
“The second problem is that, unfortunately, our experience is that when an area of high incidence is quite close to an area of low incidence, unless you beat the problem in the area of high incidence, catch up.”