Covid: PM calls for ‘unity’ as he agrees to publish data behind new tiers

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Boris Johnson has agreed to publish the health, economic and social data behind England’s new tier system later, as he seeks to avert a Commons rebellion. MPs will vote on the measures on Tuesday, and numerous Conservative MPs have demanded to see the evidence government is basing its new system on.

Writing to a group of around 70 MPs – who are sceptical of the new rules – Mr Johnson called for “unity and resolve”.

Labour is expected to support the PM but is yet to confirm its stance.

If Labour does decide to get behind the new tier system, the government should easily win the vote – even if there is a sizeable revolt among Conservative MPs.

The information is expected to include data first published by the Office for Budget Responsibility last week.

England’s new system – due to replace the national lockdown when it expires on Wednesday – will see regions placed in one of three tiers: medium, high and very high.

Nearly all of England will be in the highest two tiers, with tight restrictions on bars and restaurants and a ban on households mixing indoors. Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly will be in the lowest tier.

The PM’s letter to Tories from the Covid Recovery Group is his second letter to colleagues over the weekend, as he seeks to reassure them about the measures.

In an earlier letter to all MPs and peers, the prime minister said the rules in some areas could be eased in December, MPs could vote again on the measures in January, and the tier system could end on 3 February.

But some Conservative MPs have complained their constituencies are entering one of the tougher tiers, despite cases in their areas falling, and asked to see the data behind the measures.

 

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