MICHAEL Gove said today he is “confident as confident can be” that a national lockdown 3 WON’T be needed.
The Cabinet minister tried to calm down fears from Tory MPs who are set to vote against the Government’s new Tiers system in a crunch vote tonight.
Dozens are set to rebel and vote against the new laws – which will be in place until the spring – or abstain and not vote at all.
But with the Labour Party set to abstain from the vote, it will be likely to pass anyway.
MPs are furious with their constituents being shoved into higher Tiers of rules and restrictions after a four-week national shutdown.
They were raging last night after a hastily-released impact assessment failed to tell them the hit to their economies and was labelled a cut and paste job.
Boris will try and calm their fears when he speaks in the House of Commons later, ahead of a vote in the afternoon.
He will open the debate at 12.45pm, followed by the vote at around 7pm.
And today Mr Gove said he is confident another lockdown could be avoided, but that the Government could not rule one out.
He told Sky News: “I am as confident as confident can be that we won’t need one because the tiers that we have now are pretty robust.”
Asked if he could rule out another lockdown, Mr Gove said: “You can never rule anything out in politics, but, as I say, I’m pretty confident on the basis of the rigour with which these new tiers are applying that we can prevent a national lockdown.
“One thing I fear though would be that if we were to relax the situation too rapidly then we would have the situation which we have had in some other countries, and, indeed, in Wales, where you have to slam the brakes on again.”
It came as:
- Matt Hancock said yesterday that covid was “under control” again and the lockdown was working
- Mr Gove played down the prospect of forced immunity passports to go to pubs and restaurants – but didn’t deny that businesses could use them on their own
- Tier laws revealed all the ways people can still order booze without a meal
- A secret Covid dossier revealed the true economic damage and the worst hit areas from the pandemic
Both Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have raised the prospect of a third national lockdown in the New Year if hospital admissins continue to climb and the NHS risks becoming overwhelemed.
The tougher Tiers system is designed to crack down on cases ahead of the festive season, where people will be allowed to celebrate.
People in Tiers 2 and 3 – which covers nearly all of England – won’t be allowed to socialise with others indoors.
They will be unable to go the pub in Tier 3 as they will have to shut.
And in Tier 2 they can only buy a drink alongside a meal – though they will be allowed to remain at the table until they’re done.
Yesterday a huge debate erupted over what counted as a proper meal.
Environment Sec George Eustice suggested a scotch egg could be enough.
But No10 suggested that it might just be a bar snack.
This morning Mr Gove said that there was a long established principle in pubs as to what counts as a meal.
Kids aged 16 – 17 are allowed to have a drink with a meal if they are with adults in a pub.
He added: “The broad principle is this, you’re allowed to finish a drink that you’ve been enjoying with your substantial meal but what you can’t do is order drinks after 10pm.
“Drinks that you’ve ordered with your meal you can consume.”