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Speeding BMW hurtled into a man on hard shoulder and left victim lying on the motorway

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speeding bmw hurtled into a man on hard shoulder and left victim lying on the motorway
Ben Cooke, 35, (pictured) hit the man while hurling along the M6 near Birmingham

Ben Cooke, 35, (pictured) hit the man while hurling along the M6 near Birmingham

Ben Cooke, 35, (pictured) hit the man while hurling along the M6 near Birmingham

Shocking footage shows the moment a speeding BMW hurtles into a man on the hard shoulder after undertaking cars on the motorway.

Ben Cooke, 35, can be seen undertaking cars in his BMW 118 as he hurtled along the M6 between junctions 4a and 5 near Birmingham on December 22 last year. 

A taxi driver was run over as Cooke sped along the hard shoulder of the motorway, where the victim had pulled onto seconds before. 

The victim put his hazards on to warn other drivers, but as he got out of the car, Cooke ploughed into the Ford Focus.  

He left the driver lying in lane one of the busy motorway as cars swerved to avoid him. 

Cooke was jailed for 18 months at Birmingham Crown Court on November 16 and banned from driving for four years and nine months. 

After the crash, Cooke walked away and got into a taxi which had stopped near to the scene of the collision, at around 1.10am.

An ambulance, and which Cooke had overtaken moments earlier, stopped to help the victim, who was left with multiple fractures and internal bleeding.  

The taxi driver got out of his Ford Focus and Cooke ploughed into his car (pictured, the taxi after the crash)

The taxi driver got out of his Ford Focus and Cooke ploughed into his car (pictured, the taxi after the crash)

The taxi driver got out of his Ford Focus and Cooke ploughed into his car (pictured, the taxi after the crash) 

He left the driver lying in lane one of the busy motorway as cars swerved to avoid him (pictured)

He left the driver lying in lane one of the busy motorway as cars swerved to avoid him (pictured)

He left the driver lying in lane one of the busy motorway as cars swerved to avoid him (pictured) 

Cooke, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, was driven to a hotel in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, where he checked in for the night.

He was arrested the next day and made no comment in interview, but went on to admit causing serious injury by dangerous driving. 

PC Nick James, from the Central Motorway Police Group, said: ‘This was a horrific piece of driving, in terrible weather conditions on a part of the motorway that he shouldn’t have been on as the matrix boards were displaying ‘Hard Shoulder for emergency use only’ to show it was closed.

A taxi driver was run over as Cooke sped along the hard shoulder of the motorway, where the victim had pulled onto seconds before (pictured, the taxi driver before the crash)

A taxi driver was run over as Cooke sped along the hard shoulder of the motorway, where the victim had pulled onto seconds before (pictured, the taxi driver before the crash)

A taxi driver was run over as Cooke sped along the hard shoulder of the motorway, where the victim had pulled onto seconds before (pictured, the taxi driver before the crash)

‘We don’t know exactly how fast Cooke was going, but he was clearly undertaking vehicles which would have been travelling at around 70mph.

‘The taxi driver has no memory of the accident or why he had to stop on the hard shoulder.

‘He was left with multiple fractures and some internal bleeding, and while he is recovering, he hasn’t yet been able to return to work.

‘This footage shows that this could have been so much worse.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Ex-Russian spy poisoned in Salisbury has live-in nurse as he continues his recovery

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ex russian spy poisoned in salisbury has live in nurse as he continues his recovery

A former Russian spy who was poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok has a live-in nurse as he continues to recover nearly three years after the Salisbury attack, his daugher has revealed.

Sergei Skripal, 69, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with the Russian nerve agent in Salisbury in March 2018.

Both survived, though Mr Skripal, who was jailed in Russia in 2006 for selling secrets to MI6, required a tracheotomy and now breathes through a tube.

The attack later claimed the life of mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, who is thought to have come into contact with the nerve agent after picking up a perfume bottle in a public park. 

Sergei Skripal requires care from a live-in nurse nearly three years on from the Salisbury Novichok attack on him and his daughter, Yulia (pictured together)

Sergei Skripal requires care from a live-in nurse nearly three years on from the Salisbury Novichok attack on him and his daughter, Yulia (pictured together)

Sergei Skripal requires care from a live-in nurse nearly three years on from the Salisbury Novichok attack on him and his daughter, Yulia (pictured together)

His daughter Yulia, who is in her 30s, recently told her cousin she had fully recovered from the attack but her father was ‘in a tight spot,’ according to Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets. 

Her cousin, Viktoria Skripal, has confirmed the report to The Daily Telegraph. 

The father and daughter are living in separate flats due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Ms Skripal saying of her father: ‘He feels fine but I don’t see him because of the lockdown.’

Mr Skripal had a tracheotomy following the attack and now uses a tracheal tube to breathe, she added.

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess died after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack before being discarded

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess died after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack before being discarded

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess died after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack before being discarded

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess

Ms Sturgess's partner, Charlie Rowley

Ms Sturgess's partner, Charlie Rowley

Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess (left) and her partner Charlie Rowley (right) fell ill at the flat after she handled a perfume bottle containing the poison. She died in hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on July 8 that year. Mr Rowley was left seriously ill but recovered

The Skripals survived the attack but the incident later claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess after she came into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack before being discarded.

Her partner, Charlie Rowley, was left seriously ill but recovered.

The flat where Ms Sturgess was fatally poisoned was demolished in late October.  

Sergei Skripal’s home was ‘dismantled,’ in January 2019, according to The Guardian.

DS Nick Bailey, one of the first officers called to the attack in March 2018, quit the force in October this year and has previously spoken of the difficulty his family his went through as a result of the attack – which also cost him his family home.

He told BBC’s Panorama: ‘Not only did we lose the house, we lost all of our possessions, including everything the kids owned.

‘We lost everything. And yeah, it’s been very difficult to kind of come to terms with that.’  

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement, with President Vladimir Putin claiming the two suspects, known by aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were civilians

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement, with President Vladimir Putin claiming the two suspects, known by aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were civilians

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement, with President Vladimir Putin claiming the two suspects, known by aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were civilians

Two Russian nationals have been accused of travelling to the UK to try to murder Mr Skripal with Novichok.

The suspects – known by aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – were seen on CCTV footage in Salisbury the day before the attack.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement, with President Vladimir Putin claiming the two suspects were civilians.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Russian oligarch’s ex-wife faces son in £453m divorce court fight today   

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russian oligarchs ex wife faces son in 453m divorce court fight today

A bitter dispute involving one of the world’s wealthiest families will be played out at London‘s High Court today when the ex-wife of a Russian oligarch sues her son, alleging that he colluded with his father to prevent her receiving a multi-million-pound divorce settlement.

Tatiana Akhmedova, 52, secured a landmark £453million pay out from her ex-husband Farkhad Akhmedov, 64, an oil and gas tycoon, following the end of their 27-year marriage in 2016.

Her lawyers will claim at the High Court today that the divorce settlement, Britain’s largest ever, remains ‘almost entirely unsatisfied,’ blaming her son Temur, 27 for helping to hide his father’s considerable assets and acting as his ‘lieutenant.’

His mother claims to have received only £5million and a rusty helicopter.

This week Temur, 27, faces a deeply painful showdown with his mother, Tatiana Akhmedova, at the Royal Courts of Justice (pictured: Ms Akhmedova, centre, and Temar, right)

This week Temur, 27, faces a deeply painful showdown with his mother, Tatiana Akhmedova, at the Royal Courts of Justice (pictured: Ms Akhmedova, centre, and Temar, right)

This week Temur, 27, faces a deeply painful showdown with his mother, Tatiana Akhmedova, at the Royal Courts of Justice (pictured: Ms Akhmedova, centre, and Temar, right) 

Temur Akhmedov is accused by his mother of helping his father to hide assets from her following the couple's 2016 divorce

Temur Akhmedov is accused by his mother of helping his father to hide assets from her following the couple's 2016 divorce

Tatiana Akhmedova was awarded a landmark £453million payout from a 2016 divorce but has spent most of the years since then chasing the money

Tatiana Akhmedova was awarded a landmark £453million payout from a 2016 divorce but has spent most of the years since then chasing the money

Tatiana Akmedova (right) is accusing her son Temur (left) of helping his father to hide assets from her and British authorities after she was awarded a landmark payment of £453million in a 2016 divorce 

In addition to half of Mr Akhmatov’s billion-pound fortune, assets at stake include a private jet, an Aston Martin, Holland & Holland shotguns and a £115million art collection featuring paintings by Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and Damien Hirst.

Ms Akhmedova is due to give evidence today at the start of a three-week hearing, where she will come up against her son with relations between the two broken down and the bitter split tearing apart the wider family. 

Speaking ahead of today’s hearing, Temur said: ‘Imagine being sued by your own mother.

‘It is horrible and should never have come to this. I have done nothing wrong. My mother told me, ‘I gave birth to you so you should be on my side’.

‘But I said, ‘I’m sorry, loyalty isn’t dictated by who gave birth to you’. I didn’t seek to take sides, to pick one parent over the other.’

He added: ‘I told her I wanted to be on the side of what is right. And then I asked her why, since she gave birth to me, she is putting me through this.’

Although Mr Akhmedov is said to have offered his ex-wife £100million to settle, she has pursued him through the courts in five countries, with today’s High Court action the latest in a series of high-profile legal battles. 

Farkhad Akhmedov (pictured), who made his money from oil and gas, claimed he has given Tatiana millions of pounds to pay for her luxurious lifestyle and numerous household staff

Farkhad Akhmedov (pictured), who made his money from oil and gas, claimed he has given Tatiana millions of pounds to pay for her luxurious lifestyle and numerous household staff

Farkhad Akhmedov (pictured), who made his money from oil and gas, claimed he has given Tatiana millions of pounds to pay for her luxurious lifestyle and numerous household staff

Akhmedova was handed ownership of the couple's £20m Surrey home (pictured) and an art collection worth more than £30m [File photo]

Akhmedova was handed ownership of the couple's £20m Surrey home (pictured) and an art collection worth more than £30m [File photo]

Akhmedova was handed ownership of the couple’s £20m Surrey home (pictured) and an art collection worth more than £30m [File photo]

In addition to half of Mr Akhmedov's billion-pound fortune, assets at stake include a private jet and an Aston Martin (pictured)

In addition to half of Mr Akhmedov's billion-pound fortune, assets at stake include a private jet and an Aston Martin (pictured)

In addition to half of Mr Akhmedov’s billion-pound fortune, assets at stake include a private jet and an Aston Martin (pictured)

She has already failed in a legal bid to seize her ex-husband’s mega yacht Luna in lieu of payment of her divorce settlement. 

Worth more than £350million, it once belonged to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and boasts an onboard spa, two heliports, a mini-submarine and a missile detection system.

After numerous legal battles stretching over a year, a court in Dubai ruled that Mr Akhmedov was the rightful owner and allowed him to keep the super yacht.

Temur last spoke with his mother in February but since then she has mounted a series of legal moves against him in the run up to today’s hearing.

He has been served with a worldwide freezing order preventing him from transferring funds or selling any assets, which also limits his spending to £3,000 per week.

Last month, members of his mother’s legal team raided Temur’s £30million London apartment at One Hyde Park, Britain’s costliest block of flats, which was given to him by his father when he was aged 19, to search for documentation relevant to the case.

According to court documents, 58 electronic devices were seized from the luxury flat including mobile phones, memory sticks and even a Peppa Pig game.

An underground car park and wine cellar were also searched for any evidence that he helped his father to stop his money from being seized by the British courts. 

Assets at stake include a £115million art collection featuring paintings by Andy Warhol (pictured), Mark Rothko and Damien Hirst

Assets at stake include a £115million art collection featuring paintings by Andy Warhol (pictured), Mark Rothko and Damien Hirst

Assets at stake include a £115million art collection featuring paintings by Andy Warhol (pictured), Mark Rothko and Damien Hirst

Holland & Holland shotguns (pictured) are amongst the potential assets at stake during the legal battle

Holland & Holland shotguns (pictured) are amongst the potential assets at stake during the legal battle

 Holland & Holland shotguns (pictured) are amongst the potential assets at stake during the legal battle 

Temur, a London commodities trader, described his mother’s behaviour as ‘outrageous’ and ‘revengeful,’ insisting that there was no chance of a reconciliation between them.

He added: ‘No, it’s finished. How can you have a relationship with someone who wants to give you up like that?

‘I have no relationship with her anymore, the divorce broke everything.’

In other legal action, a US court ordered Google to turn over all of Temur’s emails to his mother’s legal team.

Ms Akhmedova said in a court filing that the information from the emails would be used to learn whether Temur assisted his father in the fraudulent transfer of assets, and if so, to win her divorce judgment against him.

Ms Akhmedova was 17 when she met her husband, then 34, and they married four years later in 1993, moving to London later that year.

The jewel in the crown for both sides is the Luna, a £350million superyacht that used to belong to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (pictured)

The jewel in the crown for both sides is the Luna, a £350million superyacht that used to belong to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (pictured)

The jewel in the crown for both sides is the Luna, a £350million superyacht that used to belong to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (pictured) 

Akhmedova has gone to great lengths to try and claim the money she was granted in the ruling, attempting to seize Farkhad's mega yacht Luna (pictured), which is worth more than £350m in lieu of payment [File photo]

Akhmedova has gone to great lengths to try and claim the money she was granted in the ruling, attempting to seize Farkhad's mega yacht Luna (pictured), which is worth more than £350m in lieu of payment [File photo]

Akhmedova has gone to great lengths to try and claim the money she was granted in the ruling, attempting to seize Farkhad’s mega yacht Luna (pictured), which is worth more than £350m in lieu of payment [File photo]

Mr Akhmedov has already been found in contempt of court for failing to pay the settlement in full after protesting that he does not recognise the High Court’s ruling on how much he should give his ex-wife.

He claims that they did not marry in Britain and were not British citizens when they divorced and that a British judge should not have made the decision on their financial settlement.

Mr Akhmedov also alleged that he and his wife actually divorced 20 years ago in Russia after she had an affair with a younger man, but this was rejected by the High Court in 2016 during their divorce hearing.

His ex-wife’s costly litigation is being backed by Burford Capital, the law-suit funding firm which has been bankrolling her luxurious lifestyle.

According to documents, last year the company paid her £15million to cover living expenses while her claim is being pursued and stands to receive a share of anything that is recovered. 

Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles is scheduled to hear evidence and legal argument at the High Court over the next three weeks.

She is due to hear part of the trial remotely – and sit in London to hear evidence on certain days.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Matt Hancock hints again that low-infection areas WILL be downgraded in two weeks

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matt hancock hints again that low infection areas will be downgraded in two weeks

Matt Hancock today delivered another hint that low-infection areas will see lockdown downgraded by December 16 as the government reels from a huge Tory revolt.

The new tiers system for England came into force at midnight after the Commons approved it by 291 to 78 – but the healthy majority masked a disaster for Boris Johnson as a swathe of his own MPs abandoned him.

Some 55 Tories went against the PM in the biggest uprising of this Parliament, and he was only saved because Keir Starmer ordered Labour to abstain.

The group voted against the measures despite Mr Johnson personally waiting in the division lobbies and begging them to stick with the government. He had also vowed that there will be a more ‘granular’ approach when the first review happens in a fortnight, after many MPs were infuriated that relatively coronavirus-free areas were being subject to harsh restrictions due to nearby hotspots.   

In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, the Health Secretary again suggested that the implementation of the tiers will be more localised after December 16 – although Conservatives will note that he stopped short of making a firm commitment. 

Mr Hancock also seized on news that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by UK regulators and will start being distributed next week, urging people not to let up on efforts to suppress the disease now. 

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the government will break counties down into districts next time around, Mr Hancock said: ‘Of course we will look at the country… according to the epidemiology, according to the human geographies of where people live and work.’

He pointed to Slough as an example of an area that had been split off in the last round of tiers. 

Pressed on whether the same could be done for Kent and Lancashire, Mr Hancock said: ‘Where that is appropriate that is what we will do, absolutely.’

Challenged again if that will happen from December 16, he said: ‘Yes. That is what we have done throughout these localised restrictions… But the thing is we want to keep this virus under control until a vaccine arrives.’ 

But Tory MPs have warned that Mr Johnson will be in serious trouble unless he follows through on the move.

‘He is going to have a problem. There are people who are expecting it and they will be under pressure over Christmas if it doesn’t happen,’ one former minister told MailOnline. 

‘He is looking to get through the next two weeks. He would like to think for the long term until March, but to keep the rebels happy he’s had to put December 16 on the table.’ 

In other coronavirus news today:  

  • UK regulators today approved Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination to start in just days. The UK has ordered 40million doses; 
  • Boris Johnson got his brutal post-lockdown tiers approved by the Commons last night thanks to Sir Keir Starmer’s tacit support after suffering the biggest Tory revolt of this Parliament as more than 50 Tories defied the whip;
  • England’s lockdown is over and shoppers used their new freedom to queue outside Primark before dawn to grab pre-Christmas bargains on Wild Wednesday;
  • Care home residents will finally be able to hug their families again, after ministers announced a national roll-out of rapid tests will mean relatives who are free of Covid will be allowed visits for the first time since March;
  • Private hospitals received millions in funding this summer despite most around two-thirds of extra capacity going unused, according to leaked documents;
  • The UK recorded another 13,430 Covid infections and 603 deaths yesterday as the second wave of the disease continues to tail off.
In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock again suggested that the implementation of the tiers will be more localised after December 16 - although Conservatives will note that he stopped short of making a firm commitment

In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock again suggested that the implementation of the tiers will be more localised after December 16 - although Conservatives will note that he stopped short of making a firm commitment

In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock again suggested that the implementation of the tiers will be more localised after December 16 – although Conservatives will note that he stopped short of making a firm commitment

Boris Johnson said there was a 'compelling case' for the regional tiers as he faced a Commons showdown over his new coronavirus rules

Boris Johnson said there was a 'compelling case' for the regional tiers as he faced a Commons showdown over his new coronavirus rules

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

Boris Johnson (left) said there was a ‘compelling case’ for the regional tiers as he faced a Commons showdown over his new coronavirus rules. But Keir Starmer (right) warned Tories hoping they will be downgraded within a fortnight: ‘That’s not going to happen.’

Dozens of Conservatives joined a mutiny amid fury that just 1 per cent of England has been put in the lowest level of restrictions, even though many areas in Tier 3 have seen few or no infections

Dozens of Conservatives joined a mutiny amid fury that just 1 per cent of England has been put in the lowest level of restrictions, even though many areas in Tier 3 have seen few or no infections

Dozens of Conservatives joined a mutiny amid fury that just 1 per cent of England has been put in the lowest level of restrictions, even though many areas in Tier 3 have seen few or no infections

35492820 9009153 image a 10 1606901094343

35492820 9009153 image a 10 1606901094343

Who are the Tory MPs who defied Boris Johnson and voted against the tier system? 

Some 53 Conservative MPs defied Boris Johnson and voted against the Prime Minister’s new coronavirus tier system. 

They are:  

Adam Afriyie (Windsor)

Imran Ahmad Khan (Wakefield)

Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire)

Paul Bristow (Peterborough)

Christopher Chope (Christchurch)

Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells)

James Daly (Bury North)

Philip Davies (Shipley)

David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) 

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) 

Jackie Doyle-Price (Thurrock)

Richard Drax (South Dorset)

Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green)

Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford) 

Marcus Fysh (Yeovil)

Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) 

Chris Green (Bolton West)

Damian Green (Ashford)

Kate Griffiths (Burton)

Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) 

Philip Hollobone (Kettering)

David Jones (Clwyd West) 

Julian Knight (Solihull)

Robert Largan (High Peak) 

Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) 

Chris Loder (West Dorset) 

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham)

Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet)

Anthony Mangnall (Totnes)

Karl McCartney (Lincoln) 

Stephen McPartland (Stevenage) 

Esther McVey (Tatton) 

Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle)

Robbie Moore (Keighley)

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)  

Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) 

Mark Pawsey (Rugby) 

John Redwood (Wokingham)

Mary Robinson (Cheadle) 

Andrew Rosindell (Romford) 

Henry Smith (Crawley)

Ben Spencer (Runnymede and Weybridge)  

Desmond Swayne (New Forest West)

Craig Tracey (North Warwickshire)

Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling) 

Matt Vickers (Stockton South)

Christian Wakeford (Bury South)

Charles Walker (Broxbourne)

Jamie Wallis (Bridgend)

David Warburton (Conservative – Somerton and Frome) 

William Wragg (Conservative – Hazel Grove)

Jeremy Wright (Conservative – Kenilworth and Southam)

A further two Tory MPs, Steve Baker and Robert Syms, acted as tellers for those MPs voting against the measures.   

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Though the Labour move guaranteed No10 victory, it left Mr Johnson exposed to the anger of his own benches. Had all the opposition parties voted against the Government, the PM would have easily been defeated.

The rebellion may have permanently dashed the possibility of using blanket shutdowns to suppress the virus in the future, and is likely to have set off alarm bells in No10 as the premier’s authority continues to wane. 

But Dominic Raab attempted to brush aside suggestions that the Government was worried about the scale of the revolt despite Mr Johnson personally begging dozens of Tories to fall into line as they went through the Noe lobby.

The Foreign Secretary instead took aim at Labour for abstaining from the crunch vote, saying tonight: ‘We listened to MPs on all sides of the House, we passed this vote with a majority of over 200. 

The most striking thing about these numbers is that the leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer abstained on the biggest issue facing this country today as we go through this pandemic and he’s got nothing to say about it, no leadership, he doesn’t know what he thinks or what the country should do.’   

The day was spent desperately trying to peel off opponents, with the premier hinting that many low-infection areas could by brought out of the toughest tiers at the next review on December 16.  

He also offered a ‘one-off’ payment of £1,000 to ‘wet’ pubs – that do not serve food – this month as recognition of ‘how hard they’ve been hit by this virus’. In a last-gasp Zoom call with mutinous Tories before the division, Mr Johnson warned they must not be like children in the back of a car saying ‘are we nearly there yet?’

Winding up the debate, Health Secretary Matt Hancock choked back tears as he referred to the death of his step grandfather from Covid in Liverpool last month, and warned the government could not ease off the restrictions too much. ‘We’ve got to beat this, we’ve got to beat it together,’ he pleaded.

Earlier, MPs lined up in the House to slam the Government plans despite the PM urging them to back his ‘compelling’ case for his new post-lockdown tiers.Former health minister Jackie Doyle-Price summed up the feeling for many by storming: ‘These decisions are being taken really on the back of a fag packet but are destroying whole swathes of the hospitality industry.’ 

The strength of feeling among critical backbenchers even led typically backbenchers to defy the PM, with former cabinet minister Jeremy Wright voting against the Government ‘for the first time in 10 years’. There had been talk of up to 100 Conservatives ready to rebel – but this afternoon the numbers were whittled down to an extent.   

A government spokesman said: ‘We welcome tonight’s vote which endorses our Winter Plan, brings an end to the national restrictions and returns England to a tiered system.

‘This will help to safeguard the gains made during the past month and keep the virus under control. We will continue to work with MPs who have expressed concerns in recent days.’

Mark Harper, chair of the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Tories, urged the government to ‘take on board’ the criticism. ‘We very much regret that in a moment of national crisis so many of us felt forced to vote against the measures that the government was proposing,’ the former chief whip said. 

 

The vote means most areas of England will now go into the new year in one of the toughest two tiers, with a ban on households mixing indoors and strict controls on the hospitality sector. 

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been designated for the lightest Tier 1 restrictions. 

As he wooed his restive party earlier, Mr Johnson insisted that the government will be ‘sensitive’ to local situations – hinting that areas with low infection rates will not be lumped together in future with other nearby hotspots. 

He said the next review on December 16 will be conducted based on ‘as much granular detail as we can’. ‘We will try to be a sensitive as possible to local effort and local achievement,’ he said.

MP said whips were working hard during the day assuring Conservatives with constituencies in high tiers that they will be downgraded within weeks, while London Tories were pushing for a private commitment that the city will not be upgraded to Tier 3. 

But Sir Keir warned Conservative MPs their hopes of being downgraded will be dashed, as Tier 2 will ‘struggle’ to hold infections down and Mr Johnson always ‘overpromises and under-delivers’. ‘That is not going to happen,’ he swiped. 

The Prime Minister also tried to allay backbench fears for hospitality businesses by announcing that ‘wet’ pubs – which rely on drinks to make their living – will be entitled to £1,000 payments to help them get through this month.   

Many Tories were left livid when ministers finally released an impact assessment of the measures, only to find it did not feature any new detail. Rebel ringleader Mark Harper said the ‘wheels were coming off’ the policy. 

It is understood the government has another dashboard that includes more ‘granular’ information on 40 areas of the economy. Sources dismissed the idea it is ‘secret’, saying it only contains material already ‘publicly available’ – although they insisted it will not be published. 

36023954 8978855 image a 37 1606170920067

36023954 8978855 image a 37 1606170920067

One angry MP told MailOnline: ‘The reason it won’t be published is because it supports our case not theirs.’  

Laying out his case that there is a ‘compelling’ need for the new regional tiers, Mr Johnson stressed: ‘This is not another lockdown. Nor is this the renewal of existing measures in England.

‘The tiers that I’m proposing would mean that from tomorrow everyone in England, including those in Tier 3, will be free to leave their homes for any reason.

‘And when they do they will find the shops open for Christmas, the hairdressers open, the nail bars open, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools open.’  

Challenged by a series of MPs – including ex-Cabinet minister Greg Clark, who represents Tunbridge Wells – over the harsh treatment their areas were receiving, Mr Johnson said: ‘As we go forward… the Government will look at how we can reflect as closely as possible the reality of what is happening on the ground for local people, looking at the incidence of the disease, looking at the human geography and spread of the pandemic, and indeed the progress that areas are making in getting the virus down.

‘We will try to be as sensitive as possible to local effort and to local achievement in bringing the pandemic under control.’

He added: ‘We will look in granular detail at local incidents, look at the human geography of the pandemic and take account of exactly what is happening every two weeks, as I say.’ 

Mr Johnson also took aim at Labour for having ‘no credible plan’ to tackle coronavirus.

He said: ‘We’re trying to look after pubs, restaurants, businesses across this entire country and no-one feels the anguish of those businesses more than this Government.

‘I do think however it is extraordinary that in spite of the barrage of criticism that we have, we have no credible plan from the party opposite, indeed we have no view on the way ahead.

‘It’s a quite extraordinary thing that tonight, to the best of my knowledge, (Sir Keir) who said he’s always going to act in the national interest, has told his party to sit on its hands and to abstain in the vote tonight.’

But despite his pleas, Mr Johnson still faced a series of hostile interventions from his own benches over the draconian restrictions, which will leave 99 per cent of England under the toughest two levels from tomorrow.

Former Brexit minister Steve Baker, one of the rebel leaders, was among those opposing the Government. 

He said he was ‘going to have to vote no tonight to send a message’ to ministers, adding: ‘People like me have not just been looking for economic analysis, we’ve been looking for serious analysis of these harms and benefits from the Government’s policies in the context of coronavirus.’ 

He went on: ‘Here we stand at a profoundly dangerous moment, heading into infringements on our liberties around vaccination and testing which we would never normally tolerate and so therefore I find with huge reluctance, I’m going to have to vote no tonight to send a message to the Government.’ 

Sir Graham Brady, chair of the powerful Tory 1922 commitee, was among those who condemned the tiers plan.

He said the Trafford borough in his Altrincham and Sale constituency had been placed in Tier 3 ‘unfairly’. ‘I believe the government has not made that compelling case,’ he said. ‘The benefit of the doubt that this House has extended in March and since is harder.’

Mr Johnson faced a series of hostile interventions from his own benches over the draconian restrictions, including from 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady (pictured)

Mr Johnson faced a series of hostile interventions from his own benches over the draconian restrictions, including from 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady (pictured)

Mr Johnson faced a series of hostile interventions from his own benches over the draconian restrictions, including from 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady (pictured)

Tory council launches legal challenge against Tier 3 decision 

A Tory-led  local authority is challenging the Government’s decision to put it into Tier 3 after the current lockdown restrictions end.

Stratford-on-Avon District Council  said it had sent a judicial review pre-action letter to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Stratford is the constiruency of Nadhim Zahawi, the newly appointed minister in charge of rolling out the Covid vaccines. 

Tony Jefferson, leader of the council, said: ‘This is not an action we take lightly, however none of the data we see warrants Stratford-on-Avon District being placed in Tier 3. It is very disappointing that the Government did not use much greater granularity in deciding on tiers.

‘I know that they have looked at a number of factors including the rates in all age groups, particularly older people who are more vulnerable to the virus; and we have to take into consideration the pressure on our local hospitals and NHS services.

‘However, none of the metrics for our district warrant it being placed in Tier 3. The decision to put Stratford district in Tier 3 therefore appears arbitrary and irrational.’ 

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Former minister Andrea Leadsom suggested that the risk of non-compliance with lockdown restrictions was now ‘very great’.

Mr Clark highlighted the ‘vast differences in the rate of Covid’ within Kent. Former Brexit secretary David Davis insisted the government should be far more local in its focus for lockdowns – pointing out that in countries like Germany sometimes local restrictions affect single factories.

Ex-culture secretary Mr Wright said: ‘For the first time in 10 years, on a matter of policy, I will be voting against my Government tonight. Not because I am unwilling to share responsibility for difficult decisions, I took my share in Government and I voted for every set of Covid restrictions the Government has proposed so far.

‘And not because I oppose the move away from nationwide restrictions and towards a localised tiered structure, I do support that, but the logic of that approach is that you make the restrictions as local as you can consistent with accurate and reliable virus data.

‘We have that data at borough and district level, so why do we not consistently impose our restrictions at that level?’ 

Another ex-cabinet minister, Damian Green, who represents Ashford in Kent, said ‘stupid rules’ were undermining the government’s efforts. 

‘I put to the Prime Minister last week the thoughts of a constituent who said that if the Government imposes stupid rules, people will stop obeying the sensible rules as well,’ he said. 

‘This was sadly dismissed. Since then, the national debate has moved on to how big a scotch egg has to be to constitute a substantial meal. I rest my case.

‘I’m afraid what we have before us today fails the test of maximising voluntary public support. 

‘To be specific, it certainly does in my constituency, where I’ve had the most angry emails over a weekend since the Dominic Cummings trip to Barnard Castle.’

Senior Tory Sir Charles Walker complained that old people dying was being branded a ‘tragedy’.

He told the Commons: ‘No government can abolish death, it is impossible – 615,000 people die every year in this country and not every death is a tragedy. It is so distressing when I hear leaders of political parties, leaders of their communities, leaders in this place say every death was a tragedy.

‘A tragedy is when a child dies. A tragedy is when some young woman or young man dies, or when you are cut down in your middle years. But when we say it is a tragedy when someone at 80 or 90 has met their mortality, we diminish that life so well lived.

‘We diminish the love, we diminish the way that person was cherished and the way that person was valued. So please, please can we just change the narrative when we talk about death because not all deaths are equal, there is the same outcome, but to compare the death of someone of 90 with the death of someone of 19 is not right, it is not right.

Just 18 local authorities see Covid cases rise 

Just eighteen authorities in England have seen a rise in Covid-19 cases over the most recent week, according to official figures that call into question whether 99 per cent of the country needs to be in the toughest two tiers of lockdown.

Only eight areas – Ashford, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Maidstone, Medway, Tonbridge and Malling, Boston in Lincolnshire and South Ribble in Lancashire – will be subject to Tier Three restrictions, which will see all pubs, bars and restaurants forced to shut.

The other areas that have seen a spike in infections – Mendip, Torridge, Surrey Heath, Woking, Basildon, Harlow, Ipswich, North Norfolk, Peterborough and Waltham Forest – will fall under the second harshest bracket. Residents living in Tier Two will be banned from mixing indoors with other households.

It means the other 297 lower-tier authorities in England – home to around 53million people – saw a fall in coronavirus cases in the seven-day spell ending November 25, the most recent week of data.

Despite Public Health England data showing Covid outbreaks are shrinking across the rest of the country, 55million people will find themselves living in either Tier Two or Tier Three when the national lockdown ends tomorrow.

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‘But of course there has been tragedy attached to the death of elderly people and that tragedy is that in their final days and months, they’ve been denied the touch of the people that they love. We have kept families apart for the good of an old person that is desperate to see their child, is desperate to be cared for by their daughter in their final months and weeks.

‘So my plea to this place is please can we involve older people in this discussion because they love their children and grandchildren and want to see them prosper, they want to see them have the same chances and opportunities that they had in their life.’

Meanwhile, a handful of Labour MPs – including Graham Stringer, Kevan Jones and Grahame Jones – indicated they would defy Sir Keir to vote against the plans. 

Winding up the debate, Mr Hancock choked back tears as he revealed his step-grandfather died of coronavirus last month. 

The Health Secretary issued an emotional plea to the nation to stick to Boris Johnson‘s new Covid-19 tier system which is due to be rolled out across England tomorrow.   

Mr Hancock said when the disease ‘gets out of control it grows exponentially, hospitals come under pressure and people die’. 

He said ‘this isn’t just speculation’ because thousands of families have been affected by the virus and that included his own as he paid tribute to his step-grandfather Derek who passed away on November 18. 

Mr Hancock told MPs that by working in a ‘spirit of common humanity’ the country can ‘beat this’, adding: ‘We have got to beat it together.’ 

He made a personal plea for people to follow the new rules as he referenced an outbreak in Liverpool which has now been brought under control. 

He said: ‘We know through repeat experience what happens if this virus gets out of control. 

‘If it gets out of control it grows exponentially, hospitals come under pressure and people die. 

‘This isn’t just speculation, it is a fact that has affected thousands of families, including my own. 

‘We talk a lot of the outbreak in Liverpool and how that great city has had a terrible outbreak and got it under control. 

‘This means more to me than I can say because last month my step-grandfather Derek caught Covid there and on November 18 he died. 

‘In my family, as in so many others, we have lost a loving husband, a father, a grandfather to this awful disease.

‘So from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you to everyone in Liverpool for getting this awful virus under control. 

‘It is down by four fifths in Liverpool. That is what we can do if we work together in a spirit of common humanity. 

Old people dying should not be seen as a tragedy, says senior Tory 

A senior Tory MP tonight complained at old people dying being branded a ‘tragedy’.

Sir Charles Walker said people being ‘cut down’ in their prime was a tragedy, but the term ‘diminished’ the lives of those in their 80s and 90s.

He insisted the real tragedy was that the elderly were being deprived of contact with their families. 

Sir Charles, vice-chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, told the Commons: ‘No government can abolish death, it is impossible – 615,000 people die every year in this country and not every death is a tragedy. It is so distressing when I hear leaders of political parties, leaders of their communities, leaders in this place say every death was a tragedy.

‘A tragedy is when a child dies. A tragedy is when some young woman or young man dies, or when you are cut down in your middle years. But when we say it is a tragedy when someone at 80 or 90 has met their mortality, we diminish that life so well lived.

‘We diminish the love, we diminish the way that person was cherished and the way that person was valued.’

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‘We have got to beat this. We have got to beat it together.’  

After the result, Mr Harper said: ‘We very much regret that in a moment of national crisis so many of us felt forced to vote against the measures that the government was proposing. 

‘The House of Commons has spoken and we hope that the Government will take on board the comments we have been making on the need for better data and modelling, regional cost-benefit analysis and on trusting MPs with the information they need to make such important decisions on behalf of their constituents. 

‘We must find a way to break the transmission of the disease, recapture the public’s support and confidence, end this devastating cycle of repeated restrictions and start living in a sustainable way until an effective and safe vaccine is successfully rolled out across the population.’  

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed he voted against the Government’s coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Corbyn had his party membership restored after being suspended for his response to the damning report into anti-Semitism within the party, but Sir Keir Starmer has not restored the whip.

He tweeted: ‘I voted against the Government’s proposals tonight.

‘I don’t believe the measures are what is needed to drive down the levels of the virus.

‘The financial support packages being offered are inadequate, inconsistent and unfair to many areas.’

Lockdown sceptic Tories met earlier to discuss their stance for the vote. 

One senior backbencher said they were holding out for the best offer before deciding which way to vote. 

‘There will be conversations going on,’ they said, explaining their approach. ‘You don’t commit one way or the other. As soon as you commit they stop talking to you.’ 

Others accused government whips of desperately trying to inflate expectations of the size of the rebellion so that it seemed less dramatic. 

Around 30 MPs defied the whip in the last lockdown vote. 

‘The only people saying over 100 is government whips,’ an MP said. ‘If there is more than 50 the government has not done well.’ 

As blue-on-blue tensions rose, a former minister told MailOnline that many of the Red Wall MPs were ‘bricking themselves’ because they were receiving a lot of emails and lacked ‘experience’.

‘Some of my newer colleagues don’t know what grief is from constituents,’ the MPs said. 

‘On the WhatsApp groups they are bricking themselves. They are saying, I’ve never had so much angry emails… I am getting angry emails as well, but I know that’s the angry one third. You learn to step back.’ 

Cabinet Office minister Michael  Gove was sent out on the airwaves to defend the government’s position this morning, warning that the renewed lockdown in Wales, just weeks after their ‘firebreak’ curbs, showed ‘what happens when you pull the restraints back too far’. 

Mr Gove said he was ‘confident as confident can be’ that there will not need to be a third national lockdown in England.

But he risked fuelling the backlash by jibing that people would not be out ‘Christmas shopping’ if the NHS was overwhelmed because the government did not take strong action. 

Mr Gove, regarded as one of the leading ‘Doves’ in Cabinet, also acknowledged he had wanted to plunge London straight into Tier 3. He was overruled by Mr Johnson amid fears 500,000 jobs could be lost.   

Although the headline 213 majority was healthy, there look to have been 56 Conservative rebels - the biggest mutiny of this Parliament after 44 previously opposed the pubs curfew

Although the headline 213 majority was healthy, there look to have been 56 Conservative rebels - the biggest mutiny of this Parliament after 44 previously opposed the pubs curfew

 Although the headline 213 majority was healthy, there look to have been 56 Conservative rebels – the biggest mutiny of this Parliament after 44 previously opposed the pubs curfew

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The government's economic assessment last night included charts from last week's OBR report - but no new detailed analysis of the economic outlook

The government's economic assessment last night included charts from last week's OBR report - but no new detailed analysis of the economic outlook

The government’s economic assessment last night included charts from last week’s OBR report – but no new detailed analysis of the economic outlook

MPs told MailOnline whips were assuring Conservatives with constituencies in high tiers that they will be downgraded at the first review on December 16. PIctured, chief whip Mark Spencer on his way to Cabinet this morning

MPs told MailOnline whips were assuring Conservatives with constituencies in high tiers that they will be downgraded at the first review on December 16. PIctured, chief whip Mark Spencer on his way to Cabinet this morning

MPs told MailOnline whips were assuring Conservatives with constituencies in high tiers that they will be downgraded at the first review on December 16. PIctured, chief whip Mark Spencer on his way to Cabinet this morning

Michael Gove

Michael Gove

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove (left) was sent out on the airwaves to defend the government’s position, warning that the renewed lockdown in Wales, just weeks after their ‘firebreak’ curbs, showed ‘what happens when you pulkl the restraints back too far’. Sir Keir Starmer (right) has decided to abstain in the crunch vote today

‘Wet’ pubs to get £1,000 for December 

Boris Johnson today announced every ‘wet pub’ forced to stay shut because of the new coronavirus tier restrictions will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 to help them stay afloat during December.

The Prime Minister said pubs which do not serve food will be eligible for the cash to recognise ‘how hard they have been hit by this virus in what is typically their busiest month’.

Mr Johnson said pubs, bars and restaurants are the ‘heart of our communities’ but he admitted they had been forced to carry a ‘disproportionate share of the burden’ during the Government’s efforts to slow the spread of the disease.

The cash payment was immediately criticised by furious hospitality bosses who said it was nowhere near enough to address the ‘financial armageddon’ faced by many firms.

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‘It is always easier to move an area from a tougher tier to a lower tier,’ he told Sky News. 

On the extra dossier of economic details, Mr Gove said: ‘The evidence that I understand is in that dashboard is broadly from the ONS and other publicly available statistical databases, and also reports from business representative organisations … (it) is based on information which is publicly available.’ 

Mr Gove stopped short of completely ruling out another blanket lockdown, but said the new tiers should be enough to avoid one.

He told Sky News: ‘I am as confident as confident can be that we won’t need one because the tiers that we have now are pretty robust.’

Asked if he could rule out another lockdown, Mr Gove said: ‘You can never rule anything out in politics, but, as I say, I’m pretty confident on the basis of the rigour with which these new tiers are applying that we can prevent a national lockdown.

‘One thing I fear though would be that if we were to relax the situation too rapidly then we would have the situation which we have had in some other countries, and, indeed, in Wales, where you have to slam the brakes on again.’

Mr Gove said he ‘sympathised’ with the concerns of Tory rebels, admitting that the restrictions were ‘painful’. 

‘There are some, and I sympathise with them, who say that the current tiering system is too strict, too rigorous,’ he said.

‘I don’t think so, I think that it’s necessary to keep the infection rate down, to reduce it wherever possible, precisely so people can be together at Christmas.

‘It’s a balance and it’s not an easy one, but while these restrictions on our freedoms are painful, they go against the grain for me, they’re there to try and make sure that we don’t have our NHS overwhelmed.’

Mr Gove said Wales showed what the risks were when you lifted restrictions ‘too expansively’.

Wales is bringing in fresh national restrictions, including a ban on pubs selling alcohol and a 6pm curfew, from Friday night after a steady rise in infection rates since a 17-day ‘firebreak’ ended on November 9.

The Cabinet Office Minister told BBC Breakfast: ‘I’ve got enormous sympathy with the difficulties that the Welsh Government are wrestling with.

‘But it looks, with the benefit of hindsight, as though immediately after their two-week lockdown they lifted restrictions too expansively.

‘As a result of doing that the virus once more got out of control, so they’ve had to slam the brakes on again.

‘That’s one of the reasons why we’re exiting the lockdown cautiously (in England).’

Gove says Wales has been forced into new lockdown with BAN on pubs selling alcohol because it eased ‘too far’ after firebreak  

Michael Gove has said Wales’s new lockdown shows what happens when governments ease restrictions ‘too far’.

The Cabinet Office minister risked fuelling tensions as he pointed to the UK nation as an example of how not to handle coronavirus. 

Welsh pubs will be forced to close at 6pm and banned from selling alcohol drinks from Friday as the country is plunged into a new lockdown just weeks after the last one ended.

First Minister Mark Drakeford outlined a raft of measures for the hospitality sector yesterday following a sharp uptick in coronavirus infections, especially among the under-25s.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will only be allowed to remain open until 6pm from Friday, and operate as takeaways afterwards. And they will not be allowed to serve alcoholic drinks under a scheme like that in place in Scotland for weeks.

Under the new programme, cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues will also  close, but non-essential retail, hairdressers, gyms and leisure centres can stay open.

The move follows the previous ‘firebreak’ lockdown between October 23 and November 9. When that ended, people were allowed to meet indoors in groups of up to four people in places like pubs and restaurants, with no alcohol sales before 6pm and a 10.20pm curfew. 

Up to 15 people were also allowed to take part in ‘an organised indoors activity’ like an exercise class, and non-essential retain reopened.

But coronavirus cases have risen from 160 per 100,000 to 210 per 100,000 in the past 10 days, an increase of 31 per cent.

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He added: ‘The example of Wales shows what can happen if you lift the restrictions in too blanket a way too soon.’

Sir Keir, who has backed government measures throughout the pandemic, said it would not be in the national interest to vote the restrictions down when coronavirus still posed a ‘serious risk’ to the public.  

The 48-page impact assessment publishes overnight was dismissed by Tories as a whitewash and a ‘cut and paste’ job, after it claimed the economic impact of the three-tier could not be quantified.   

The final dossier was based on information in the public domain, with the section on the economic impact drawn from an analysis of the impact of the pandemic published by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) last week.

Senior Tories blasted the ‘rushed’ document, which contained typographical errors – with one claiming that the PM had chosen not to publish an economic forecast ‘because it would have come up with the wrong answer’. 

Mel Stride, Tory chairman of the Commons Treasury committee, said: ‘It’s frustrating that there is little here that sets out how the different tiers might impact on the specific sectors and regions across the country. Those looking for additional economic analysis of the new tiered system will struggle to find it in this document.’ 

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith accused ministers of a ‘cut and paste job’, which suggested no economic analysis had been done before the allocation of tiers was made. 

Explaining his decision to order Labour to abstain in today’s Commons vote, Sir Keir said: ‘Coronavirus remains a serious threat to the public’s health and that’s why Labour accept the need for continued restrictions. We will always act in the national interest, so we will not vote against these restrictions in Parliament tomorrow.

‘However, I remain deeply concerned that Boris Johnson’s Government has failed to use this latest lockdown to put a credible health and economic plan in place.

‘We still don’t have a functioning testing system, public health messaging is confused, and businesses across the country are crying out for more effective economic support to get them through the winter months.

‘It is short-term Government incompetence that is causing long-term damage to the British economy. It is imperative that the Government gets control of the virus so that our NHS can be protected and our economy recovers faster.’

In response, the Government accused Sir Keir of ‘playing politics’ in the midst of the pandemic. ‘This pandemic is one of the biggest challenges facing the country in decades and Labour have decided to abstain on it,’ a No10 spokesman said.

‘While Keir Starmer claims he offers new leadership, it’s clear to all that he actually offers no leadership at all.

‘Keir Starmer is playing politics in the middle of a global pandemic instead of working with the Government to find a way through this difficult time for the British people.’  

On average, 77,942 out of 88,903 (87.7 per cent) available beds were occupied across the country in the week ending November 22, which is the most recent snapshot. For comparison, occupancy stood at 94.9 per cent, on average, during the seven-day spell that ended December 8 in 2019 — which is the most comparable data available for last winter — when around 91,733 out of all 96,675 available beds were full

On average, 77,942 out of 88,903 (87.7 per cent) available beds were occupied across the country in the week ending November 22, which is the most recent snapshot. For comparison, occupancy stood at 94.9 per cent, on average, during the seven-day spell that ended December 8 in 2019 — which is the most comparable data available for last winter — when around 91,733 out of all 96,675 available beds were full

On average, 77,942 out of 88,903 (87.7 per cent) available beds were occupied across the country in the week ending November 22, which is the most recent snapshot. For comparison, occupancy stood at 94.9 per cent, on average, during the seven-day spell that ended December 8 in 2019 — which is the most comparable data available for last winter — when around 91,733 out of all 96,675 available beds were full

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Just four trusts — Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust (FT), University College London Hospitals FT, Calderdale and Huddersfield FT, and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh FT — are busier now than they were a year ago

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Of the trusts that are the busiest this year, only Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh is seeing more patients in total than last winter

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Matt Hancock chokes back tears in the House of Commons as he reveals his step-grandfather died of Covid last month 

Matt Hancock choked back tears in the House of Commons this evening as he revealed his step-grandfather died of coronavirus last month. 

The Health Secretary issued an emotional plea to the nation to stick to Boris Johnson‘s new Covid-19 tier system which is due to be rolled out across England tomorrow.   

Mr Hancock said when the disease ‘gets out of control it grows exponentially, hospitals come under pressure and people die’. 

He said ‘this isn’t just speculation’ because thousands of families have been affected by the virus and that included his own as he paid tribute to his step-grandfather Derek who passed away on November 18. 

Mr Hancock told MPs that by working in a ‘spirit of common humanity’ the country can ‘beat this’, adding: ‘We have got to beat it together.’   

Matt Hancock choked back tears in the House of Commons this evening as he revealed his step-grandfather had recently died of coronavirus

Matt Hancock choked back tears in the House of Commons this evening as he revealed his step-grandfather had recently died of coronavirus

Matt Hancock choked back tears in the House of Commons this evening as he revealed his step-grandfather had recently died of coronavirus 

MPs voted this evening on rolling out Mr Johnson’s new tier system amid significant Tory disquiet over the draconian curbs. 

Mr Hancock was tasked with finishing the debate for the Government and he made a personal plea for people to follow the new rules as he referenced an outbreak in Liverpool which has now been brought under control. 

He said: ‘We know through repeat experience what happens if this virus gets out of control. 

‘If it gets out of control it grows exponentially, hospitals come under pressure and people die. 

‘This isn’t just speculation, it is a fact that has affected thousands of families, including my own. 

‘We talk a lot of the outbreak in Liverpool and how that great city has had a terrible outbreak and got it under control. 

‘This means more to me than I can say because last month my step-grandfather Derek caught Covid there and on November 18 he died. 

‘In my family, as in so many others, we have lost a loving husband, a father, a grandfather to this awful disease.

‘So from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you to everyone in Liverpool for getting this awful virus under control. 

‘It is down by four fifths in Liverpool. That is what we can do if we work together in a spirit of common humanity. 

‘We have got to beat this. We have got to beat it together.’  

Could YOUR area be slapped with different restrictions to the rest of your county? 

KENT: HOW ONLY SIX PARTS OF THE COUNTY ARE SEEING CASES RISE

No10’s bizarre decision to slap all of Kent into Tier Three when England’s lockdown ends tomorrow is emblematic of the unequal lockdowns, with rural villages bound to be hamstrung by economically-damaging curbs imposed because of bigger outbreaks centered miles away. 

Only six of 13 lower-tier authorities in Kent — Medway, Tonbridge and Malling, Maidstone, Ashford, Folkestone and Hythe, and Dover — saw a spike in coronavirus cases during the most recent week, according to the Government’s own data.

It means the other areas of the county will be stung by the draconian restrictions to shut all pubs and restaurants and keep them to takeaway service only, despite managing to reverse their outbreaks.

Even Swale — England’s current Covid-19 hotspot with an infection rate of 559.7 in the week ending November 25 — saw cases drop.

Department of Health statistics also offer a much more detailed breakdown of the coronavirus outbreak in Kent, revealing how swathes of the county have an infection rate below England's rolling seven-day average of 167.8. It means the county's overall outbreak is being skewed by bigger epidemics along the northern coast

Department of Health statistics also offer a much more detailed breakdown of the coronavirus outbreak in Kent, revealing how swathes of the county have an infection rate below England's rolling seven-day average of 167.8. It means the county's overall outbreak is being skewed by bigger epidemics along the northern coast

Department of Health statistics also offer a much more detailed breakdown of the coronavirus outbreak in Kent, revealing how swathes of the county have an infection rate below England’s rolling seven-day average of 167.8. It means the county’s overall outbreak is being skewed by bigger epidemics along the northern coast

Only six of 13 lower-tier authorities in Kent — Medway, Tonbridge and Malling, Maidstone, Ashford, Folkestone and Hythe, and Dover — saw a spike in coronavirus cases during the most recent week, according to the Government's own data

Only six of 13 lower-tier authorities in Kent — Medway, Tonbridge and Malling, Maidstone, Ashford, Folkestone and Hythe, and Dover — saw a spike in coronavirus cases during the most recent week, according to the Government's own data

Only six of 13 lower-tier authorities in Kent — Medway, Tonbridge and Malling, Maidstone, Ashford, Folkestone and Hythe, and Dover — saw a spike in coronavirus cases during the most recent week, according to the Government’s own data

Department of Health statistics also offer a much more detailed breakdown of the coronavirus outbreak in Kent, revealing how swathes of the county have an infection rate below England’s rolling seven-day average of 167.8. It means the county’s overall outbreak is being skewed by bigger epidemics along the northern coast.

And the sense of injustice felt by the county over the tougher curbs is laid bare in the 1,600-populated village of Groombridge. They are just a seven-minute walk away from each other, but thanks to Downing Street’s revamped three-tier system, the two pubs there might as well be in different countries.

The Junction Inn and the Crown Inn are on the border between East Sussex and Kent and in pre-coronavirus times could have been visited on the afternoon out in their picturesque home. But a geographic and governmental quirk mean they fall under different tiers of coronavirus restrictions and face very different futures.

When the UK’s national lockdown is finally lifted, Kent’s Crown Inn will have to remain shut at huge economic cost. Meanwhile, 430 yards down the road in East Sussex, The Junction Inn will be able to throw open its doors to serve a substantial meal with drinks.

BRISTOL, SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE AND NORTH SOMERSET: RATES ARE SO LOW IN PARTS OF THE COUNTY THAT OFFICIALS WON’T SAY HOW MANY CASES WERE DIAGNOSED

All of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset will also fall foul of the toughest curbs from tomorrow, even though the region’s outbreak appears to be centered just two areas. 

Covid levels are so low in some areas of the affected three regions that officials won’t confirm how many cases were diagnosed in the most recent week because they fear it may inadvertently lead to infected residents being identified.

For example, the district of Charfield, Wickwar and Iron Acton — which is on the border of neighbouring Tier Two Stroud — recorded fewer than three infections in the week ending November 25.

Covid levels are so low in some areas of the affected three regions (in white) that officials won't confirm how many cases were diagnosed in the most recent week because they fear it may inadvertently lead to infected residents being identified

Covid levels are so low in some areas of the affected three regions (in white) that officials won't confirm how many cases were diagnosed in the most recent week because they fear it may inadvertently lead to infected residents being identified

Covid levels are so low in some areas of the affected three regions (in white) that officials won’t confirm how many cases were diagnosed in the most recent week because they fear it may inadvertently lead to infected residents being identified

All three of the boroughs have an infection rate higher than England's average, with Bristol's being the highest at 210.0, followed by North Somerset (185.1) and South Gloucestershire (173.3)

All three of the boroughs have an infection rate higher than England's average, with Bristol's being the highest at 210.0, followed by North Somerset (185.1) and South Gloucestershire (173.3)

All three of the boroughs have an infection rate higher than England’s average, with Bristol’s being the highest at 210.0, followed by North Somerset (185.1) and South Gloucestershire (173.3)

And Backwell and Flax Bourton, situated in the heart of North Somerset, will also be struck by the harshest rules when England’s lockdown ends on December 2, despite having fewer than three cases last week.

All three of the boroughs have an infection rate higher than England’s average, with Bristol’s being the highest at 210.0, followed by North Somerset (185.1) and South Gloucestershire (173.3).

But, once again, these are skewed because of outbreaks in hotspots. Department of Health data shows Weston Uphill, in Weston-Super-Mare, had an infection rate of 488.0 in the seven-day spell up until November 25. But just 12miles away in the district of Wrington, Felton and Dundry, the rate stands at just 48.5.

Boris Johnson promised to base Tier allocation on ‘common sense’, and the government’s ‘Winter Plan’ set out a series of metrics that will be used. They are: Case detection rates in all age groups; Case detection rates in the over 60s; The rate at which cases are rising or falling; Positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken); and Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.

But there are no specific numerical trigger points, and the document added that there will be ‘some flexibility to weight these indicators against each other as the context demands’. 

WARWICKSHIRE: TIER 3 STRATFORD-UPON-AVON HAS A LOWER INFECTION RATE THAN TIER 2 NEIGHBOURS IN NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire was among areas to suffer the same fate as Kent after they were lumped into the toughest restrictions because of their neighbours. 

It will enter Tier Three when England’s lockdown lifts but has an infection rate massively below the average (92.2) — and it is still falling.

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire was among areas to suffer the same fate as Kent after they were lumped into the toughest restrictions because of their neighbours

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire was among areas to suffer the same fate as Kent after they were lumped into the toughest restrictions because of their neighbours

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire was among areas to suffer the same fate as Kent after they were lumped into the toughest restrictions because of their neighbours

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire was among areas to suffer the same fate as Kent after they were lumped into the toughest restrictions because of their neighbours

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire was among areas to suffer the same fate as Kent after they were lumped into the toughest restrictions because of their neighbours

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire was among areas to suffer the same fate as Kent after they were lumped into the toughest restrictions because of their neighbours

Neighbouring Daventry and South Northamptonshire — which evaded the strictest rules and fell into Tier Two — actually have bigger outbreaks, according to the Government’s own statistics. 

For example, Daventry’s infection rate in the week ending November 25 was 117.5, while South Northamptonshire’s was 152.4.

Warwickshire’s overall infection rate stands at 168.2, meaning it is only marginally higher than England’s average. But higher rates in Coventry and Birmingham — metropolitan boroughs that border the authority of Warwickshire — are likely to have spooked ministers into adopting the toughest measures. 

But the same injustices will still be felt in Cubbington, Stoneleigh and Radford Semele. Fewer than three Covid-19 cases were recorded in the district last week. 

Health chiefs refuse to confirm how many infections there were if the area had fewer than three ‘to protect individuals’ identities’.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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