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Coronavirus UK: MPs support the rule of six in the lower house despite anger


MPs overwhelmingly backed the controversial rule of six in a Commons vote tonight – but Boris Johnson had no doubt about the anger on the Tory back benches.

The The Covid-19 regulations that enforce the rules of gatherings in England were passed in Westminster by 287 votes to 17 – a majority of 270.

The rules are already in place and the motion only provides an ex post vote on them.

But a number of Tories said they would abstain rather than support, and used the debate beforehand to attack government ministers over the scope of the rules.

Steve Baker, a former Brexit Minister, said: "I have real concerns about the very high cost of these measures.

"(It's an) absolutely appalling set of costs that people bear, and the anecdotes that now (will) increasingly suggest poor compliance actually seem to create a gap between their intentions to comply and what they actually do to have."

He added, “It is not now clear that the benefits outweigh the costs of the lockdown. We have to ask ourselves whether these circumstances are really what we want.

Steve Baker, a former Brexit Minister, said: "I have real concerns about the very high cost of these measures

Before the vote, Sir Graham Brady (top left), chairman of the 1922 Tory Backbenchers Committee, asked if the government had been considering a "rule of eight" instead.

Before the vote, Sir Graham Brady (top left), chairman of the 1922 Tory Backbenchers Committee, asked if the government had been considering a "rule of eight" instead.

“We hear from people who are destroyed by this lockdown, strong, confident people, open-minded people, sociable people who are destroyed and reduced to repeated episodes of tears on the phone.

"This is a devastating social impact on our society and I believe that people would make different choices if they were able to take responsibility for themselves."

Last week, Boris Johnson hinted that the rule of six could be suspended on Christmas Day to ensure a family of five can invite both grandparents out for festive lunches.

He had stressed that the government would "do everything possible to ensure that Christmas is as normal as possible for everyone".

In late September, a desperate Prime Minister called on the British to "save Christmas" by following his rule of six.

However, in Tuesday's debate, Mr. Baker was joined by other Tory MPs who were fully opposed to the measure.

Bexhill Tory MP Huw Merriman said, “Now I am looking for this evidence, but I still don't see it.

On that basis, I fear that I will not be able to vote for the rule of six because I simply do not believe that it is proportionate and that it will actually do what the government hopes, and I hope and fear that it will actually more harm than good. "

Ministers are under pressure from Tory MPs to end the rule of six and the 10 p.m. curfew in England as such intrusive measures are not justified by the evidence and are damaging the economy.

The government was prepared for a possible uprising tonight, but Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party would support the government.

He told the media today: “We will support the rule of six. There are of course arguments about whether it should be six or some other number. I think clarity and simplicity are really important here, and that's why we're going to be supporting the rule of six tonight. & # 39;

Before the vote, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Tory Backbenchers Committee, asked if the government had been considering a "rule of eight" instead.

During a Commons debate on Covid-19 regulations, he said, “Can she (Health Secretary Helen Whately) give us her estimate of the effectiveness of the Rule of Six versus the Rule of Eight that was put in place instead?

"Is the rule of six more or less effective than a household blending ban?"

He added, "These rules are a massive encroachment on the freedom and privacy of the entire British people, and they also have a devastating economic impact that will result in large job losses and a large number of business failures."

And former International Development Minister Sir Desmond Swayne, targeting the rule of six and the government's lack of justification, told the Commons, "If I can propose a rule of 10, we can count it on our fingers, that would be easy enough, wouldn't it ? & # 39;

The Shadows Health Secretary Justin Madders asked what would happen on Halloween, saying, “It's always a busy night for the police, but this year they'll have the added burden of breaking up groups of kids when they get too big.

Given that these kids have likely spent the whole day with the same kids in groups in groups well over six, I say good luck to the officer who tries to explain to them why their parents are fined for this.

"When that happens, I would be grateful if the minister could confirm this. I think there has to be a very clear public message and campaign about it – or will there be an exception?"

U.K. "Aim for Three-Tier Blocking Notice" THIS WEEK: PM prepares a new system of regional rules with Liverpool and Newcastle looking to tougher curbs as Nicola Sturgeon warns of "localized restrictions" in Scotland starting Friday

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent for MailOnline

Parts of England could face draconian new lockdown measures within a few days if a local "Covid Alert System" is planned.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to reveal details of the three-tier setup as early as Thursday to help better understand the existing patchwork of restrictions.

Government sources said the top tier would include stricter restrictions than those currently on the millions of people living in the north and the Midlands.

A planned traffic light system is being redesigned after data from thousands of "missing" cases reveal that the virus has spread much faster than previously thought in cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield. Ministers will meet in the coming days to find out how far they should go.

Cities like Sheffield, Oxford and Nottingham appear to be facing tighter restrictions as Boris Johnson tries to get a grip on the local flare-ups.

Options include closing pubs, restaurants, and movie theaters, banning social mixing outside of household groups, and restricting overnight stays. Sources declined to rule out the possibility that some cities could immediately be ranked in the top tier, although death rates remain low.

It came when Nicola Sturgeon announced that new restrictions on Scotland would be announced tomorrow, due to take effect from Friday.

But the First Minister used her daily press conference to say the measures to be unveiled at Holyrood would not mean another full lockdown.

Nicola Sturgeon announced that new restrictions on Scotland will be announced tomorrow, which will come into effect on Friday but would not constitute a new lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon announced that new restrictions on Scotland will be announced tomorrow, which will come into effect on Friday but would not constitute a new lockdown

Cities like Sheffield, Oxford and Nottingham appear to be facing tighter restrictions as Boris Johnson (pictured today) tries to get a grip on local flare-ups

Cities like Sheffield, Oxford and Nottingham appear to be facing tighter restrictions as Boris Johnson (pictured today) tries to get a grip on local flare-ups

Coronavirus cases in Scotland have increased sharply since early September

Coronavirus cases in Scotland have increased sharply since early September

PM channels Maggie with Tory conference speech

Boris Johnson pleaded for Tories to continue believing in his instincts and how to deal with the coronavirus crisis, and for Britain to present a true blue vision after fighting the disease.

The prime minister admitted that 2020 "was not the year we envisioned" but insisted that the devastating effects of the pandemic would not prevent the government from moving forward with its post-Brexit "leveling-up" agenda.

Addressing the "virtual" Tory conference, Mr. Johnson said – without his usual interaction with a live audience – he was working "for the day life is back to normal" and appealed to people not to go through the grueling ban to allow. Take us down & # 39 ;.

He nodded to growing conservative anger over violations of civil liberties and the freezing of the economy, and deeply regretted the restrictions imposed by the government – but warned that "there is simply no reasonable alternative".

He did his best to reassure those who questioned his Tory values, and promised to push the state back as soon as possible. He suggested the idea that the taxpayer could be "Uncle Sugar" and continue to fund any part of the economy, and praised the entrepreneurs.

Mr Johnson also channeled the spirit of Thatcher's revolution in the 1980s by promising to save the dream of home ownership for a new generation with 95 percent mortgages.

And he hit those who urged the country to document its colonial past, saying he was "not embarrassed" to sing Rule Britannia.

He said it would not be enough to return the same way and the government was determined to "rebuild better". Real change could be made in such crises, and he would use the moment to do so.

The prime minister gave an angry response to claims that he "lost his mojo" and did not fully recover from his own brush with coronavirus, offering to do "arm wrestling or leg pressing" to prove otherwise.

She said the new measures would not include nationwide travel restrictions – although such restrictions may sometimes be necessary in "hotspot" areas – and the public will not be asked to stay in their own homes.

Speaking at the daily briefing in Edinburgh, she said that schools will not "close in whole or in part" and that the Scottish government will not "close the entire economy" or "stop the remobilization of the NHS".

"We are not currently proposing any further lockdown," said Ms. Sturgeon. "Not even temporarily."

Neil Ferguson – known as "Professor Lockdown" – warned this morning that pubs in parts of England may have to be closed completely to keep schools open.

The Westminster government's Covid modeling guru said the additional cases were added to the UK record after an Excel error painted a "sobering" picture of the outbreak.

He said it was not clear that the government could contain the virus while children remained in secondary schools – and suggested that the wider population "need to give up more" to keep education going.

This could include closing bars and restaurants altogether, as well as extending the October half-time for a two-week breaker lockout to break transmission chains.

The problems the Prime Minister would face in enforcing such restrictions, however, were exposed when the Conservatives threatened an offer to remove existing measures, including the rule of six and pub closings at 10 p.m.

When asked if there are any further restrictions on Liverpool and Newcastle, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said today: “We are constantly reviewing the data by having a wide range of data regarding the number of positive cases per 100,000 people and also those Examining numbers of hospitalizations, the number of people being transferred to intensive care units, and unfortunately also the number of deaths.

"We have always made it clear that if we need to move forward on the ground, we will not hesitate to do what it takes to protect the NHS and to protect life."

An NHS source told The Sun last night that another Scottish lockdown was imminent.

They added, "We should expect it from 7pm on Friday."

Figures released for the first time yesterday show that 43 percent of all cases in Scotland in the past week occurred in just two municipal areas – Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It again sparked calls to Ms. Sturgeon to avoid draconian restrictions being imposed on parts of the country with low virus rates.

However, a recent government report warned that another 100,000 jobs could be lost by the end of the year.

Tim Allan of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “Talk of another blanket lockdown is not acceptable to Scottish companies.

& # 39; It would damage the confidence of consumers and businesses that have already suffered an unprecedented economic blow during this crisis.

There is a steady flow of traffic in test centers like this one in Glasgow

There is a steady flow of traffic in test centers like this one in Glasgow

Coronavirus social distancing measures have been observed at a restaurant in Edinburgh

Coronavirus social distancing measures have been observed at a restaurant in Edinburgh

Stricter rules in Scotland could be the final act for tourism

Scottish tourism leaders warned that further restrictions on businesses could be the "final act" that would shut them down for good.

Industry leaders said "widespread" mass layoffs are inevitable as the vacation program ends and any further action by Holyrood exacerbates the problem.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance warned that many companies had already started making job loss decisions and closing for the winter.

The managing director Marc Crothall said that under the new rules, self-catering had already been widely canceled, while income in many restaurants had almost been halved due to the curfew at 10 p.m.

Mr. Crothall said, “The direct impact of the recent new restrictions is that companies are accelerating their decisions about firing employees.

“We hear stories of increasing losses, earlier than many people had hoped.

& # 39; A breaker is going to have a really big impact on the industry.

& # 39; There is no evidence of a targeted and tailored support package for the industry.

"Without that, it could be the final act for many companies."

VisitScotland's executive director Malcolm Roughead said it was clear the industry was "having trouble" resisting the effects of the new coronavirus restrictions that were introduced last month.

He said businesses faced an uncertain future after groups from more than one household banned self-catering accommodation from booking together.

“The return to national lockdowns will put our economy back in first place – we just can't keep turning the lights on and off. It not only jeopardizes jobs, but the well-being of entire communities.

“Instead, we should focus on using the evidence we need for problem areas. The data now available to the Scottish Government is sophisticated and detailed, showing the environments and geographic areas in which the virus is spreading.

“We know the virus will be with us for a long time. We need to learn to deal with it so that we can get on with our lives and protect our livelihoods while keeping the risk of transmission as low as possible. & # 39;

New data released by Public Health Scotland put five councils in the red alert category, with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the past week: Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire.

Of Scotland's 32 parishes, between September 27 and October 3, 43.4 percent of all cases were in just two, Glasgow and Edinburgh. In Glasgow there were 1,224 cases – or 193 per 100,000 people – while in Edinburgh there were 750 cases, or 143 per 100,000.

There was not a single positive case in Orkney or the Shetland Islands. Moray only had five cases per 100,000, Aberdeenshire 14, Clackmannanshire 15, Perth and Kinross 20 and 26 in Angus.

Murdo Fraser, Tory MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said, “I don't think there need to be general nationwide restrictions when you see numbers like this.

“We saw a local lockdown in Aberdeen when there was a recent surge in cases. If, as I said, more restrictions are put in place in the coming days, I think it is important that they target specific problem areas rather than nationwide. & # 39;

When asked whether blanket measures would be introduced, Ms Sturgeon said yesterday that this was one of the "most important considerations".

She added, “If we feel that further restrictions are needed, are they needed on a national or local or regional basis? We didn't make a decision.

“Although we are seeing a particularly high number of cases and infection rates in West Central Scotland and Lothian, it would be wrong to assume that we are not seeing increasing infection in almost all parts of the country. We are. & # 39; Ms. Sturgeon said there had been cases in all areas of the health department on the mainland as well as on some islands for most days in the past week.

She added: “Across the country there is a rising tide of infections, but some parts are higher than others.

The problems the Prime Minister (pictured today on Downing Street) faced in enforcing stricter coronavirus restrictions were exposed when the Conservatives threatened an offer to change existing measures, including the rule of six and pub closings at 10pm Clock, to delete

The problems the Prime Minister (pictured today on Downing Street) faced in enforcing stricter coronavirus restrictions were exposed when the Conservatives threatened an offer to change existing measures, including the rule of six and pub closings at 10pm Clock, to delete

Infections in the UK have skyrocketed in the past few days due to an embarrassing counting error

Infections in the UK have skyrocketed in the past few days due to an embarrassing counting error

In Scotland there have been increased infections in many parts of England

In Scotland there have been increased infections in many parts of England

“Part of our limitation considerations also requires that we take into account that not only are we responding to an existing problem, but that you are also taking smarter preventative action in areas where it may not look this big now Problem There If you act you can stop a problem from developing. & # 39;

Meanwhile, parts of the UK – including a number of university towns – could face local lockdown within days of "missed" test and trace data revealing belated increases in infection rates.

Cities like Sheffield and Oxford are among a dozen areas where coronavirus infections rose after the "computer glitch," meaning 16,000 cases were missed from Public Health England's reporting system.

According to the Telegraph, residents of Nottingham, which has two universities, should prepare for lockdown measures.

The city that hosts Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent University was previously not on the government's Covid watch list.

However, the updated data shows that the city would have been one of the worst areas in the country last week compared to the pre-determined numbers.

Steve Baker

Neil Ferguson

Neil Ferguson (right) – known as "Professor Lockdown" – said pubs may need to close to keep schools open. Steve Baker (left) leads a Tory revolt against existing restrictions

The Ministry of Health insists the new numbers won't affect its watchlist or change the current restriction in the region, the paper said.

New figures today show that cases are skyrocketing in some of the north's largest cities.

Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle and Nottingham have all seen big leaps, in some cases to a rate of 500 cases per 100,000 people.

That sparked a new round of furious speculation yesterday over tougher local lockdowns, with the risk of further restrictions later this week.

The weekly rate in Manchester more than doubled to 2,927 in the week ending October 2 – that's nearly 530 cases per 100,000 people.

Liverpool wasn't far behind, with cases per 100,000 jumping from 306 to 487 in one week.

The cases in Sheffield nearly tripled, from just over 100 per 100,000 to 286. In Newcastle the rate rose from 268 to 435.

Professor Lockdown warns pubs may close to save schools as the prime minister faces Tory mutiny

The government's Covid model guru warned today that pubs may need to close to keep schools open – as Boris Johnson faces a Tory riot against the 10 p.m. curfew.

Neil Ferguson – known as "Professor Lockdown" – said the additional cases were added to the UK balance sheet after an Excel error painted a "sobering" picture of the outbreak.

He said it was not clear that the government could contain the virus while children remained in secondary schools – and suggested that the wider population "need to give up more" to keep education going.

This could include closing bars and restaurants altogether, as well as extending the October half-time for a two-week breaker lockout to break transmission chains.

The problems the Prime Minister would face in enforcing such restrictions, however, were exposed when the Conservatives threatened an offer to remove existing measures, including the rule of six and pub closings at 10 p.m.

Anger has grown on the Tory benches over the government's refusal to exempt younger children from the rule of six – as is the case in Scotland – while many believe the curfew is causing more harm than good by putting on the Streets and house parties fueling celebrations.

Many of the largest increases are in cities with large student populations.

Mr Hancock said campus outbreaks would not necessarily lead to tighter restrictions on the wider community if they could be contained.

Meanwhile, Covid contact tracers were desperately trying to hunt down tens of thousands of potentially infectious Britons last night after the effects of the IT bug were exposed.

Ministers admitted yesterday that officials had managed to contact only half of the 16,000 remaining on the government's daily list of confirmed virus cases last week.

It is estimated that these people could have up to 50,000 potentially infectious contacts that need to be tracked down and isolated.

The 697 positive cases confirmed across Scotland yesterday represented 12.8 percent of the patients newly tested. The number of people hospitalized with the virus rose by eight to 218, while the number of people in intensive care remained unchanged at 22 and there were no new deaths.

Ms. Sturgeon said more young people tested positive than when the pandemic started, but warned that more elderly people had contracted the virus in recent weeks.

She said: "This is a very important point and indeed one of the most important points as we consider the next steps in the coming days."

"It risks the welfare of entire communities"

In the UK, it is believed that a number of university towns could be locked on site days after a test and trace counting bug that shook the infection logging system.

Cities like Sheffield, Leeds and Oxford are among a dozen areas where coronavirus infections rose after the "computer glitch," meaning 16,000 cases were missed from Public Health England's reporting system.

The residents of Nottingham, which has two universities, have reportedly been told

The Ministry of Health insists the new numbers will not affect the watchlist or change the current restriction in the region.

It came when cases were found to be skyrocketing in some of the north's largest cities.

Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle and Nottingham have all seen big leaps, in some cases to a rate of 500 cases per 100,000 people.

That sparked a new round of furious speculation yesterday over tougher local lockdowns, with the risk of further restrictions later this week.

The weekly rate in Manchester more than doubled to 2,927 in the week ending October 2 – that's nearly 530 cases per 100,000 people.

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