MPs in 'expendable' North of England say London should have been in Tier 3 straight after lockdown ended

·3-min read
 People wearing face masks walk past a social distancing sign on Regent Street, which was blocked for vehicle traffic for a day. London has seen an increase in coronavirus cases, prompting fears that tougher restrictions may be introduced once again. (Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
London will be moved into Tier 3 from Wednesday. (PA)

MPs in the North of England have complained their region has been seen as “expendable” while London has faced less strict coronavirus restrictions.

Their anger comes as it emerged that London will be moved from Tier 2 into Tier 3, the highest COVID-19 alert level, on Wednesday.

Health secretary Matt Hancock is expected to reveal details of new measures for the capital in a press conference on Monday, after giving a statement to MPs in the House of Commons.

Downing Street has insisted that Christmas measures will not change, despite soaring COVID-19 rates in some parts of the UK.

The latest weekly figures show coronavirus rates and hospital admissions have increased across every area of London, sparking the government to move the city into Tier 3, which will see pubs and restaurants close apart from takeaway services.

On Monday, London mayor Sadiq Khan said he had tried to convince the government that Tier 3 is a “blunt instrument that doesn’t really address in a laser-like fashion where we are seeing the biggest problems”.

Watch: London to move into Tier 3 restrictions

But Labour MPs in the North of England said London should have been put in Tier 3 when the country’s second national lockdown ended on 2 December.

Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, tweeted: “In the eyes of this government our northern economies are expendable whilst London’s is to (be) defended at all costs even at the expense of public health and lives.

“It’s almost as if London should have been put into Tier 3 at the end of National Lockdown 2… you know, when many London boroughs had higher infection rates than what we had in North Lancashire”.

Her colleague Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton, tweeted data from a report in the Manchester Evening News that revealed coronavirus infection rates were higher in London than in Greater Manchester the day the former moved into Tier 2 and the latter into Tier 3.

Read more

The Tier 3 COVID lockdown rules explained

The Tier 2 COVID lockdown rules explained

McMahon wrote: “Looking from the North, question is less whether London will go into T3, but why it was in T2 in the first place.

“On the day Greater Manchester was put into T3, London showed higher and increasing rates yet was placed in T2.

“Almost like one economy mattered more than the other”.

Watch: Pay off debt or save money during COVID?

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