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Labour MPs slam ‘hopeless’ new tier system before vote

LABOUR MPs have slammed ministers’ “hopeless” and “deeply flawed” plans for a second round of tiered coronavirus restrictions before a crunch Commons vote tomorrow.

Up to 100 Tory MPs could rebel in voting down the government’s plans for a tiered system, which would replace the national lockdown from midnight.

The government is so desperate to get approval that some Tory MPs have reportedly been promised a ministerial job if they vote for the plans.

PM Boris Johnson may also have to rely on Labour and other opposition MPs to get the system approved.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has said that all 11 of his party’s MPs will “withhold support” for the plans, which would be a modified version of the three-tier lockdown implemented in October.

The Labour Party have not yet made a decision on whether it would whip its MPs to back or reject the plans.

Labour MP for Leeds East Richard Burgon said he was planning to vote against because they would “repeat the errors of the past” and because the “government is still refusing to learn the lessons.”

He said that the current national lockdown should be extended until Christmas to further reduce the infection rate, which has dropped by about a third since measures came in on November 5.

“There’s a real risk that taking the foot off the brake over the coming weeks will undermine the gains made by the current lockdown,” Mr Burgon said.

“That will make a third wave and yet another lockdown much more likely in the new year.”

He also raised serious concerns over the lack of financial support for Tier 3 areas and the government’s refusal to increase Statutory Sick Pay from £95.85 per week for those who need to self-isolate.

Labour MP for Hemsworth Jon Trickett told the Star that he will monitor the debate tomorrow before making a decision.

But he said that if MPs had a choice between the government’s “hopeless” tier system and a “proper national framework,” he would support the latter.

“The government’s whole Covid strategy is deeply flawed,” he said.

“Boris Johnson’s approach to lockdown is to protect … the City of London but then impose further economic harm on the more deprived areas and on the health of poorer people, who are twice as likely to die from coronavirus as the more prosperous.”

Former Labour chairman Ian Lavery told the Star that he was “unsure” of how he will vote, but that he is “loath to support the Tories on anything.

“The Tories oppose the tier system because they want no restrictions and to free up the economy. Labour MPs oppose it because of a lack of financial support to businesses and individuals,” he said.

“The conundrum for me is if a vote against the tier system were to succeed then there would be no restrictions. And where would we be then?”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said that Labour should not “play politics” by blocking the plans “at times of national emergency.”

He confirmed that the government is relying on other parties and that up to 100 Tories are “unsettled” by the new restrictions.

MPs are due to be offered a vote in January on whether to renew the system, but some members have demanded that this takes place earlier.

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