LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has today called for a national lockdown to come into force within the next 24 hours – urging Boris Johnson to "do it now".
He told the Prime Minister to bring in the tough restrictions urgently and added that the closure of more schools is "inevitable".
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Sir Keir said the virus is now "clearly out of control" and urged Mr Johnson not to delay any decisions regarding further restrictions.
Asked if he was calling for a full shutdown across England, he told Sky News: "Nationwide lockdown.
"The Prime Minister is hinting that that's going to happen but he's delaying again and we can't afford that again."
He did not explicitly say what his idea of lockdown would be with most of the country currently under Tier 4 restrictions.
'OUT OF CONTROL'
Sir Keir added: "The virus is clearly out of control and the Prime Minister is hinting that there are tougher national restrictions to come in two or three weeks.
"That delay has been the source of so many problems.
"I'm saying bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions within the next 24 hours, that has to be the first step to controlling the virus."
He said that it was "inevitable" more schools are going to have to shut their doors.
Sir Keir added: "On schools, I don't want to add to the chaos which would be caused by having all schools closed tomorrow. Many will be closed.
"It is inevitable more schools are going to have to close and the Government needs to plan for children's learning and also for working parents.
We can't allow the Prime Minister to use up the next two or three weeks and then bring in the national lockdown that is inevitable. Do it now."
"So it is inevitable more schools are going to close.
"But the more important thing in a way is the national restrictions that need to come in in the next 24 hours.
"Let's not have the PM saying 'I'm going to do it but not yet'. That's the problem he's made so many times.
"We can't allow the Prime Minister to use up the next two or three weeks and then bring in the national lockdown that is inevitable. Do it now."
It comes after Boris Johnson today refused to rule out a “Tier 5” lockdown.
The Prime Minister warned he may have to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions “in the next few weeks”.
He said we need to be “realistic” about the pace of which the new mutant Covid variant is spreading across the country.
Mr Johnson said new “tougher” measures may need to be used in “many parts of the country” in a desperate bid to reduce the number of coronavirus cases.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, he said “yes” when asked whether it may be necessary to bring in new tougher restrictions.
The PM could not rule out curfews, return to single hour exercise a day and a ban on household mixing or a total national lockdown.
Asked if a “Tier 5” was on the way he said the restrictive system is “probably about to get tougher.”
He added: “It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country.
"I'm fully reconciled to that, I bet the people of this country are reconciled to that until the vaccine comes on stream in a massive way, we're fighting this virus with the same set of tools.”
The 56-year-old would not speculate on the type of new restrictions but said the country would be aware of the things the government could introduce.
He added: “You've spoken about Tier 5, I haven't said that. But there are obviously a range of tougher measures that we would have to consider."
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