Union leader Sir Keir Starmer is in third place, and a third nationwide lockdown is “inevitable”.
He has called on the prime minister to put new restrictions in place within the next 24 hours, saying this is the “necessary first step” to bring infection rates under control.
“We cannot allow the prime minister to spend the next two or three weeks and then bring about a national lockdown, which is inevitable.”
“Do it now. This is the necessary first step to get the virus back under control.”
He added, “Everyone wants the children to go back to school. There is no one who would argue with it. Of course we all want that.
“It is inevitable that more schools will close.
“I don’t want to call for schools to close tomorrow morning and add to the chaos, but we need to recognize that it is inevitable that more schools will close and we need a plan to deal with it.”
“However, it can only be part of a broader strategy of national lockdown in the next 24 hours.
“The prime minister is suggesting it, but he’s not. We can’t afford this delay again.”
Sir Keir added, “The most important thing, in a way, is that national restrictions have to be put in place within the next 24 hours.
“Don’t let the prime minister say, ‘I will do it, but not yet,’ this is the problem he has raised so many times.
“Nationwide lockdown – the prime minister has hinted that this will happen, but he is delaying again. And we cannot afford that again.”