United Kingdom

Boris Johnson's tier system rests in the hands of Sir Keir Starmer

The fate of Boris Johnson’s tier system rests in Sir Keir Starmer’s hands, MPs said last night as they prepared to vote on it.

MPs in both main parties are said to be ‘up in arms’ over restrictions putting nearly all parts of the nation in the toughest two tiers.

Labour will decide tomorrow whether to oppose the Government’s plans after a meeting with its Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer.

Sir Keir Starmer and his team will meet the Government's Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer before deciding whether the Labour Party will support Boris Johnson's plan to introduce a Three Tier system ahead of Christmas 

Boris Johnson, pictured, who has an 80-majority, has been told some 100 Tory MPs have joined the Covid Recovery Group's Whatsapp - with up to half of them planning to vote against or abstain from the Government's plan 

Several senior Labour MPs are understood to be urging Sir Keir to whip the party against the system in Tuesday’s vote.

One said some Shadow Ministers were ‘going ballistic’ over the changes, adding: ‘It all depends on the Labour Party.’

Meanwhile, support for the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of Tory MPs opposed to the national lockdown has swelled. Its WhatsApp group counts nearly 100 members, with new recruits including former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green. More than half are expected to oppose the tier system by voting against it or abstaining. But even if most vote it down, the CRG is likely to need Labour’s help to stop it coming in.

Yesterday, Michael Gove, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said all hospitals in England faced being overwhelmed if MPs failed to back the Government. Writing in The Times, he said: ‘When the country is facing such a national crisis... all of us who have been elected to Parliament... must take responsibility for difficult decisions.’

Number 10 has taken a tough line with would-be rebels, reportedly threatening that voting against the tiers could damage MPs’ chances of promotion.

Tory Steve Baker – one of 70 MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister last week demanding a cost-benefit analysis of the new measures – said: ‘No MP should allow their vote to be swayed this way.’

Meanwhile some Labour MPs are expected to vote against the tiers whatever position their party takes. Labour MP Graham Stringer said: ‘Unless these plans are drastically changed, I will be voting against them. It’s destroying the economy and threatening tens of thousands of jobs. ’

Last night, Boris Johnson wrote to Tory MPs offering a partial climbdown, saying the rules will have a ‘sunset’ of February 3 and will be voted on again on January 27. He added: ‘No Prime Minister wants to impose restrictions which cause such harm.’

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