Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been warned by dozens of Conservative MPs to “road map out of lockdown” as more and more people in England are subject to the toughest coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Johnson was informed by a group of 50 Tory backers from northern constituencies that the pandemic threatened his election promise to “improve” the country.
More than eight million people in England – mostly in the north – will be subject to the strictest Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week, with Warrington being the newest area to be placed in Tier 3.
Nottingham and the Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe counties will move into Tier 3 on Thursday. Details are expected to be announced later on Tuesday.
The two areas will join Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire in Tier 3, subjecting the toughest restrictions to 8.2 million people in England.
The measures, which went into effect early in the morning on Tuesday, mean pubs and bars will have to close unless they serve extensive meals.
Households are also not allowed to mix indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens, while betting shops, adult gaming centers, casinos and soft play centers have been closed.
The rate of coronavirus cases in Nottingham fell from 726.6 in the seven days ending October 15 to 464.4 in the week ending October 22, with 1,546 new cases.
The city had the highest Covid-19 rate in the country for the seven days ending October 15, but was 22nd on the list of municipal areas on the list of local governments for the seven days ending October 22.
In Warrington, however, cases rose from 343.3 to 395.2 per 100,000 people with 830 new cases over the same period.
The latest announcement has caused concern among Tory MPs. The newly formed Northern Research Group – led by former Minister for Power in the North, Jake Berry – asked Mr. Johnson to put in place a “clear roadmap” for the lockdown.
Mr Berry said, “The virus has exposed with significant relief the profound structural and systemic drawbacks our communities are facing and threatens to widen the differences between North and South even further.
“Our constituents have been hardest hit by this virus as they have lost many jobs, businesses and livelihoods. Never before has there been a more pertinent and urgent political and economic case to aid those living in the north.
“Instead of fueling our common ambitions, the cost of Covid and the virus itself threatens to turn the North in the opposite direction.”
A spokesman for Number 10 said, “We are absolutely determined to improve across the country and rebuild better after the coronavirus.
“We stood in the last election with solemn pledges to improve people’s lives and while the pandemic has resulted in 2020 not being the year we all hoped for, our ambitions for the country remain unchanged.”
Around 40 Conservative MPs have signed the letter publicly, another 14 have their names edited.
Meanwhile, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, whose brother Bill died with Covid-19, has supported the idea of a fourth level of Covid-19 restrictions and told BBC Breakfast that people have died. If anything was required to get it down faster I would do that. “