A Labour MP was invited to a key briefing about the new local lockdown system... five minutes after it started.
Ahead of Boris Johnson’s launch of the three-tier plan on Monday, health secretary Matt Hancock carried out a series of video briefings with MPs representing areas that will be under restrictions.
Louise Haigh, the MP for Sheffield Heeley, tweeted a screenshot of her invite to a 2pm briefing on measures in west and south Yorkshire – which landed in her inbox at 2.05pm.
Haigh, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, was responding to another Labour MP, Oldham West and Royton’s Jim McMahon, who had complained about being given 21 minutes’ notice for the Greater Manchester call.
Another MP said she was only given seven minutes’ notice...
Along with other MPs in the region, I have just received an email from a Government Minister inviting me to a meeting to discuss further restrictions in the North East with just 7 minutes notice. Disgraceful. Do they even know what they’re doing?! 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Rbxa3WNPjI— Kate Osborne MP (@KateOsborneMP) October 12, 2020
...while others representing Greater Manchester constituencies said they didn’t even get an invite.
Just learnt Greater Manchester will be placed into tier 2 restrictions via twitter. Apparently there was a government briefing for GM MPs but I can’t provide details because I wasn’t invited. I suspect this is because they don’t know where Wigan is. What an absolute shambles— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) October 12, 2020
I and other GM MPs were missed off the list for the 1pm meeting with @MattHancock to discuss the new system of restrictions, so am just picking it up on Twitter. What a shambles this Government is.— Barbara Keeley (@KeeleyMP) October 12, 2020
Later, addressing Johnson in the House of Commons, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy said the government’s Yorkshire briefing “failed to invite all Yorkshire MPs”.
“This shambles is creating confusion and fear and we need clarity,” she told the prime minister.
After asking how much notice MPs will get for future rule changes, Johnson said “the government at all levels has been in constant contact with authorities in Yorkshire for the last few days and I'm very grateful for their co-operation”.
Watch: Boris Johnson confirms new three-tier system of local lockdowns for England
Under the three-tier system, areas in England will be categorised in alerts levels set at either “medium”, “high” and “very high”.
Areas listed as “medium” will be subject to the same rules as those that currently apply across the country, such as the “rule of six” and 10pm hospitality curfew.
In the “high” alert level, which will apply to most of the areas already subject to restrictions, household mixing will be banned indoors.
The “very high” level will apply to areas causing the most concern due to high COVID infection rates and hospital admissions. Household mixing will be banned indoors and at outdoor gardens and hospitality venues, with pubs also forced to close unless they can operate as a restaurant. People will also be advised against travel in and out of the areas.
Liverpool was the only area to be categorised in this tier.