Boris Johnson handed 'proof' local lockdowns aren't working in fiery clash in Commons

BORIS Johnson has been handed "proof" local lockdowns aren't working in fiery clash in Commons.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer branded the fact 19 local areas have had to follow tough local lockdown rules for two months and their infections were still rising "ridiculous".

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Sir Keir stormed this lunchtime: "Today is 100 days since the first local restrictions were brought in.

"20 local areas have been under restrictions for two months, in 19 of those infection rates have gone up.

"It's obvious something has gone wrong here."

Labour handed out stats on the areas which had been forced to follow stricter rules than the rest of the nation, with some of them have a shocking 3653 per cent rise in infection rates since tough restrictions were brought in.

According to the document, Wigan, which was given lockdown restrictions on July 30, had a rate of 6 cases for 100,000 people which has now skyrocketed to 219 cases per 100,000.

In Rossendale, the rate on July 30 was 10 cases per 100,000, which has now risen to 220 per 100,000.

But the PM hit back at Sir Keir for questioning local lockdowns, when he hadn't thrown his support behind the national rule of six, designed to curb infections.

He blasted Sir Keir, saying: "We are continuing to provide support to areas with local restrictions.

"(Sir Keir) went on (LBC radio) saying I support rule of 6 yes, I do.

"Yet last night he abstained (from voting for it in the Commons). He can't even be bothered to get his own side to support the measures himself."

But the Labour leader came back at the PM with an information dump on infection rates.

He said: "Let me take this slowly for the Prime Minister. These are not trick questions.

"In Bury, when restriction were introduced, the infection rate was 20 cases per 100,000 (people). Today it is 266.

"In Burnley,it was 21 per 100,000, now it is 434.

"In Bolton it was 18 now (per 100,000) now it's 255.

"The PM really needs to understand that local communities are angry and frustrated. What does he actually think problem is here?"

Sir Keir demanded Brits under local restrictions be given clear criteria on when local lockdown restrictions might be able to be lifted, and what the measure is for them being brought in.

But Mr Johnson said the Government was "making the tough decisions" to deal with coronavirus.

He said: "He’s heard from me and the Government on why we’re bringing in different local restrictions.

"I wish I could pretend everything would be rosy in the midlands or in London, where alas we are all seeing infections rise and thats why we need a concerted national effort."

The Commons row comes as mayors in lockdown areas took the Government to task over the continuing restrictions.

The leaders of Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle city councils – Judith Blake, Sir Richard Leese and Nick Forbes – joined Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson to write to the Health Secretary to say they are "extremely concerned" with the rise in cases.

And they said they would not back any more economic lockdown measures which would hurt businesses.

The Labour politicians wrote: "The existing restrictions are not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm rule, are counter-productive."

Resentment has been brewing over a clear North-South divide between parts of the country with soaring rates, and others with lower numbers.

The worst-hit area is Manchester, where 3,105 new cases were recorded in the seven days to October 3 — the equivalent of 561.6 per 100,000 people.

That is up from 261.2 in the week before.

Boris Johnson is today deciding whether to implement tougher lockdown measures in the North of England to stop the spread – as Nicola Sturgeon is set to reveal her own plans later.

Previously pubs were ordered to shut only in Bolton over their soaring figures – but have since been told they can reopen.

Pubs and restaurants face closure in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak scrambling to put together a local bailout package for businesses facing ruin.

Some shops could also be forced to shut, but workplaces and schools would remain open.

 

 

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