Why the tougher Tier 2 Covid measures angered some London MPs

Millions of people in London, most of Essex and part of Surrey will be banned from meeting other households indoors from Saturday.

The government today moved all of London, the entire county of Essex and Elmbridge, Surrey into the Covid ‘high alert’ category.

The new curbs come into effect at midnight tomorrow. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons infection rates in a London were doubling every 10 days.

But the move angered some MPs in areas of London with the lowest infection rates. They wanted restrictions on a borough by borough basis.

Conservative former minister Sir Bob Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) told Matt Hancock in the Commons: “A number of us in London regard it as neither targeted nor proportionate nor appropriate to use a London-wide average in so large a metropolitan area where so little commuting is now taking place.

“Will he reflect upon this in future and will he speak today to the Chancellor to see what support can be given to hospitality businesses in the London suburbs who are suffering as of now, as a direct consequence of his decision?”

The Health Secretary said there is a “huge amount” of travelling to work in London, adding: “In the different boroughs the rates are different… and in his patch they are lower than the London average.

“Nevertheless, unfortunately, they are rising sharply and so this action, we considered a borough-by-borough approach, but because of the integrated nature of London, and because unfortunately cases are rising fast across London, we decided the best approach was for the whole of London to go into level 2 together.”

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