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Boris Johnson's 'Simplified' Three-Tier System Has Left One Constituency Split In Two

Boris Johnson's 'Simplified' Three-Tier System Has Left One Constituency Split In Two
3 min read

New "simplified" coronavirus restrictions announced by Boris Johnson has left one constituency operating under two different sets of rules.

The prime minister revealed on Monday that a "small part" of High Peak in Derbyshire would join other areas of England, including Greater Manchester, under mid-level restrictions which ban household mixing in indoor settings. 

The area's Conservative MP, Robert Largan, later posted on social media that the more stringent restrictions would apply to Glossopdale area only.

The rest of the constituency, which is home to about 72,000 people, will remain under lower level tier one restrictions, including the 'rule of six' and 10pm hospitality curfew.

Mr Johnson said the new curbs had been brought in to simplify rules nationally, after local leaders complained of discrepencies in different regions with similar levels of infection. 

But several MPs complained that their areas had been wrongly categorised - including Derek Twigg in Halton, which will be put under the toughest level three measures alongside Merseyside as a whole from Wednesday.

"Halton has a lower rate of infection than a number of other areas that are not in the highest restricton rate," he said. 

The Prime Minister responded: "Our objective remains unchanged, which is to get the R down...whilst keeping education open and keeping our economy going."

Jane Stevenson, Wolverhampton North East MP, who was elected in 2019 in a former “red wall” seat, told the Prime Minister in the Commons she was disappointed that Wolverhampton “has been lumped into the tier two system” despite protest from all three MPs and the local councils.

She said: “My fantastic pubs and restaurants have done everything asked of them and now because they're in tier two they face no financial support at all and a devastating effect on their viability.” 

The prime minister said the government’s Job Support Scheme is available to people in her constituency who are open but not able to trade as they normally would.

Another Tory MP in a former red-wall seat, Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland, said pub owners in her constituency were concerned about different households not being able to meet in pubs and the impact of that on their business.  

She asked the PM to lift the restrictions as soon as feasibly possible.

Johnson said businesses could also take advantage of the current business rate cut, as well as the Job Support Scheme.

Phillip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said the prime minister should trust the British people to act responsibility and that individuals make better decisions for themselves, rather than the state.

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was "deeply sceptical that the government actually has a plan to get control of this virus".

"It was less than three weeks ago – 22 September – the prime minister came to this House to announce new restrictions," he added.

"He said then that the measures he was introducing would 'curb the number of daily infections'. And were 'carefully judged to achieved the maximum reduction in the R number'.

"That has not happened. Those measures have not worked. We would not be here today if they had."

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