Labour Leader Keir Starmer Has Demanded A "Circuit-Breaker" Lockdown Over Half-Term
Labour leader Keir Starmer has called on the government to introduce a two to three week national lockdown to try and take control of the coronavirus.
The proposal is a direct challenge to Boris Johnson and could be seen as an attempt to get ahead of what will be inevitable government policy due to the rising rates of the virus across the country.
The "circuit-breaker" is backed by the SAGE group of scientists, who made the recommendation in their meeting on September 21 but the minutes only became public last night.
Starmer said: "A temporary set of clear and effective restrictions designed to get the R rate down and reverse the trend of infections and hospital admissions.
"This would not mean closing schools. But if this happens imminently….it can be timed to run across half-term to minimise disruption. But a circuit break would require significant sacrifices across the country."
He suggested that it would mean only essential work and travel, non-essential offices should be closed, household mixing should be restricted to one household except for those who’ve formed support ‘bubbles’.
All pubs, bars and restaurants would be closed for two-to-three weeks. The UK Parliament moves to remote working. Vote on the coronavirus alert level
He continued: “A circuit break would also provide an opportunity to reset and to rectify some of the mistakes the Government has made. In particular to get a grip on testing and hand over track and trace to local authorities."
During a televised press conference, where he made the announcement, he was asked by Sky News why he is effectively backing the government's latest coronavirus measures which will go before MPs in a vote tonight if he does not think they are making the right decisions.
Starmer said: "Tonight on the vote, we're not going to vote down a package of restrictions because restrictions are needed.
"If you vote it down there are no restrictions.
"Nobody in any of the areas where the infection rates are going up is calling for no restrictions. It's in the national interest that we have the circuit break now but we will not vote against the restrictions in the meantime."
But we will not vote against the restrictions in the meantime."
Tonight MPs are being asked to vote on the new local alert level system that was unveiled in the Commons by the Prime Minister on Monday.