Watch: Britons hit the town ahead of second lockdown
Revellers took to the streets on Wednesday night for one last party before the second national lockdown came into force.
As pubs and restaurants prepared to close their doors for four weeks after Wednesday night, people made the most of their final opportunity to go out before restrictions were put in place.
From today, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors after the Commons voted by 516 to 38 – a government majority of 478 – for the new restrictions.
The lockdown, that is set to last four weeks, is intended to protect the NHS as the government seeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Towns and cities across England on Wednesday night saw crowds of people taking the opportunity to socialise and drink before tougher restrictions were imposed.
However, along with the good-natured partying, there were also some altercations with the police, which saw officers being attacked in Merseyside.
Merseyside Police said in a statement hundreds of people gathered at a bonfire on Meadow Crescent, Woodchurch, where officers had fireworks thrown at them after being called just before 9pm.
Chief inspector Gary O’Rourke said: “Not only did police and fire patrols come under attack on their arrival, which could’ve had catastrophic results, but there was a blatant disregard for COVID-19 restrictions, with hundreds of people in attendance drinking alcohol, mixing with other households and ignoring social distancing.
“We will not tolerate this behaviour and are now looking at a number of lines of enquiry, including examining footage and speaking to witnesses, to ensure robust enforcement action is taken.”
Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for North Yorkshire Police’s response to COVID-19, said the force would undertake extra patrols to ensure public compliance with the regulations.
Meanwhile, chief constables in the north-west of England said they would target the minority of the public who flouted rules by holding large gatherings, music events and parties.
And on social media Londoners reported high levels of traffic in the city as people attempted to leave before lockdown.
“Total traffic madness cycling home at 7pm,” Mary Creagh, CEO at walking charity Living Streets tweeted.
“Tonight, everywhere is a high traffic neighbourhood.”
After Boris Johnson suggested the lockdown could go on beyond the 2 December deadline, a group of northern Conservative MPs warned him that they do not want their constituencies “locked into lockdown” indefinitely.
Chairman of the Northern Research Group (NRG) of Tory backbenchers, Jake Berry, has called for more clarity from Johnson for a roadmap out of the measures for a second time in little more than a week, as dissent appears to be growing within the Conservative Party.
Wednesday’s vote on the lockdown saw a bigger-than-expected Commons rebellion, as 32 Tory MPs defied the whips to vote against the measures, with two more acting as tellers for the noes.
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