Johnson refuses to rule out lockdown extension in England as MPs back second shutdown

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out Coronavirus lockdown extension in England as MPs back second shutdown

Related tags: Coronavirus, lockdown

The Prime Minister has failed to rule out extending England's second national lockdown, which comes into force today (5 November), beyond the initial four weeks.

Yesterday afternoon (4 November), MPs approved plans to plunge the country back into lockdown, with all hospitality venues ordered to close except for takeaway and delivery.

Despite a small Tory rebellion, the House of Commons approved the new measures by 516 votes to 38, with opposition parties backing the Government.

Earlier in the day the Prime Minister faced questions from the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who pressed Johnson on whether the lockdown would definitely lift after four weeks as was originally announced.

“Will the lockdown end on 2 December, come what may, or will it depend on circumstances at the time? People need to know that,” Starmer asked.

Johnson responded: “These autumn measures to combat the surge will expire automatically on 2 December, and we will then, I hope very much, be able to get this country going again, to get businesses, to get shops going again in the run-up to Christmas.

“But that depends on us all doing our bit now to make sure that we get the R down. I have no doubt that we can.”

The Prime Minister's response was markedly different to the message he gave to the CBI conference earlier this week, when he assured delegates the restrictions would expire after the four-week period.

Several Conservative MPs have already said they could not support any extension beyond 2 December.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May was among those who lined up to criticise the Government, saying no data had been produced to justify the rules.

According to real estate adviser Altus Group, the lockdown will impact 37,616 pubs and nearly 27,000 restaurants.

In response to the restrictions, trade bodies representing the UK’s hospitality, pubs and their supply chain businesses have called on the Government to provide a six-month investment plan​ to secure the future of the sector.

In a letter to the Chancellor, UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and Pub is the Hub outlined details of the necessary support plan.

Without this, the letter stated that many viable businesses will fail with significant job losses, and impact the long-term prospects of the UK’s economy.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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