Johnson is, however, still facing competing pressures from, on the one hand, Tory MPs concerned about the severity of a revamped tier system and, on the other, scientists who are increasingly warning that easing the rules over Christmas could lead to a devastating increase in cases.
Last night it emerged that the PM faces a rebellion from Tory MPs over another period under a tiered system that could leave him relying on Labour’s support to pass it through the Commons. It is understood 70 Tory MPs have signed a letter warning that they cannot support localised restrictions next month unless ministers can demonstrate they “will save more lives than they cost”.
The group, led by former chief whip Mark Harper and former Brexit minister Steve Baker, is demanding to see a full cost-benefit analysis of the restrictions.
“We are especially concerned about outside sport, the 10pm curfew, closure of non-essential retail, gyms and personal care businesses, restrictions on worship, care home visits, hospitality and the inclusion of children under 12 in the rule of 6,” they write. “In these areas, we need to be assured of the evidence of their effectiveness.”