Boris Johnson ‘overruled calls from Michael Gove to put London in Tier 3’ after Tory MPs warned of economic meltdown in the capital
- Boris Johnson is said to have overruled Michael Gove to put London in Tier 2
- Tory MPs had been pushing for the capital to be kept out of the highest bracket
- PM facing massive rebellion from own benches over 99% of country in top Tiers
The capital was put in Tier 2 when the allocations were announced yesterday, giving some relief to the battered economy and hospitality industry.
However, Matt Hancock made clear it had been a borderline decision, and warned there was a ‘lot of work to do’ for it to stay in the lower bracket.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, regarded as a leading ‘Dove’ in the top ranks of government, is believed to have pushed for London to be in the harshest bracket at a key meeting on Wednesday. But Mr Johnson – a former mayor of the city – went against his judgement, according to the Telegraph.
Neighbouring Kent has been moved into Tier 3, despite anger that it includes many areas with low infection rates.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove (right), regarded as a leading ‘Dove’ in the top ranks of government, is believed to have pushed for London to be in the harshest bracket. But Boris Johnson (left) – a former mayor of the city – is believed to have gone against his judgement
Matt Hancock made clear it had been a borderline decision to put London in Tier 2, and warned there was a ‘lot of work to do’ for it to stay in the lower bracket
Sources close to Mr Gove refused to comment on discussions at the ‘Covid O’ Cabinet committee on Wednesday – although they did not deny he had suggested London should be in Tier 3.
Downing Street has denied the verdict on London was affected by economic or political concerns.
But in the run-up to the Tier allocations, Tory MPs and mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey had demanded it was placed into Tier 2. Many called for the city to be treated on a borough by borough basis.
There had been warnings that placing the capital in Tier 3 would wipe out half the hospitality industry in the city and trigger an ‘atomic bomb’ of job losses after Christmas.
Leading restaurateur Richard Caring, who owns chains including The Ivy and Bill’s, said he was ‘very glad’ that London was in Tier 2, but if it had gone into Tier 3 then ‘we might as well have turned out the lights’.
Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan – who is up for reelection in May – said it was the ‘right decision’ because ‘Londoners have done exactly what has been asked of them since the start of this pandemic’.
Up to 70 Tory MPs are threatening to rebel in a crucial vote next week after it emerged only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly will be in Tier 1 – meaning households can socialise indoors and pubs can serve alcohol without meals.
Senior Tories warned the Prime Minister faces the ‘biggest revolt of this Parliament’ on Tuesday.
Rural places such as the village of Penshurst in Kent – which has had only three cases in the past week – have been plunged into Tier Three because they fall under a local authority with high infection rates.
The PM hit back at a press conference last night with a warning that Britain could face a third national lockdown in January unless people stick to the tough new regime.
Mr Johnson at war with his own MPs over Tier allocations that mean 99 per cent of the country is under the two harshest levels