Politics

Tory revolt: Health Secretary Matt Hancock URGED to resign over coronavirus tier 4 plans

Matt Hancock grilled over 'taking away hopes' by Andrew Marr

Sir Charles Walker, the vice chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, made the remarks after the Government revealed the latest lockdown plans. The rules, announced on Saturday, mean plans to relax measures over Christmas are scrapped and millions of people across the country have been placed into the new Tier 4.

Sir Walker told The Telegraph: “Given that the Prime Minister is not going to resign, perhaps it is time for Matt Hancock to consider his position.”

Mr Hancock dismissed the proposition of resigning during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

When asked about calls for his resignation by Mr Marr, he said: “I know that Charles is very upset at the measures that we have had to bring in, and he has been throughout.

“Unfortunately, these measures are absolutely necessary to save lives.

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“I’m dealing with a global pandemic in the best way we possibly can with huge pressures already on the NHS with case rates that are climbing and we must take action no matter how uncomfortable we find it.”

Boris Johnson called an urgent meeting of his Cabinet on Saturday after a rise in cases of coronavirus.

A mutated strain of Covid-19 is believed to be behind the surge in the south east of England, where the R rate has soared to 1.4 in recent weeks.

The Prime Minister placed large parts of the area into Tier 4 from December 20.

Christmas has been cancelled for those in Tier 4 and has been significantly reduced in other areas.

Mr Johnson said: “We will introduce new restrictions in the most affected areas, specifically those parts of London, the south-east and east of England which are currently in Tier 3.

“These areas will enter a new Tier 4. Residents in those areas must stay at home apart from limited exemptions.

“We cannot continue with Christmas as planned. In England those living in Tier 4 areas must not mix with anyone outside their own households at Christmas.

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“Across the rest of the country, the Christmas rules will now be limited to Christmas day only rather than the five days as previously set out.

“There will be no relaxation on December 31 so people must not break the rules at new year.

“I know how much emotion people invest at this time of year and how important it is for families to be together, so I know how disappointing this will be.”

On Sunday, Britain experienced a record daily rise of 35,928 new coronavirus infections.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said the “sharp and sudden increase” in new cases on Sunday was of “serious concern”.

She said: “Most of the new cases reported today are concentrated in London and the South East, although it is too early to tell if this is linked to the new variant.

“What we do know is that the way to control this virus is the same, whatever the variant.

“It simply will not spread if we avoid close contact with others.”

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