Labour leader Keir Starmer calls on Boris Johnson to ‘toughen up’ Christmas restrictions in England

Cases have soared in London, with some 36,000 confirmed new infections in the week to December 12.

He repeated his message that the current Christmas rules — which allow three households to mix indoors between 23 and 27 December — were “very much a maximum” and “not a target people should aim for”.

Speaking to reporters on Friday afternoon, Sir Keir said: “[Mr Johnson] has got to toughen up over Christmas, he’s got to show some leadership.

“Easing the restrictions I think is going to be the next big mistake for the Prime Minister.”

“Pressed on what exactly he wants in terms of restrictions over the festive period, Sir Keir said: “In Wales, for example, they brought it down to two households, that seems a step in the right direction, might want to even talk about the numbers within the households.

“But what you can’t have is a Prime Minister who, as he’s done throughout this pandemic, he’s been too slow to act.”

Northern Ireland is set to enter a tough new six-week lockdown on Boxing Day, while Wales will go into its own lockdown two days later.

The Scottish government has said “nothing can be ruled out” ahead of a review on Tuesday.

Professor John Edmunds, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Emergencies (SAGE), warned on Friday that “very stringent” measures may have to be imposed for a long time to bring the epidemic down to a “safe” level.

“At the moment, it doesn’t look like the tier system is holding the epidemic wave back unfortunately,” he told Sky News.

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“So, I think we are going to have to look at these measures and perhaps tighten them up, we really will, that’s a horrible thing to have to say, but we are in quite a difficult position at the moment.”


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