After issuing tier 4 plans and admitting that the virus is now “out of control”, Matt Hancock has come under pressure to resign.
The health secretary warned that restrictions in most parts of England are expected to get tougher following the emergence of a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus. Plans to ease restrictions over Christmas will have to be reconsidered due to surging numbers of infections.
Senior Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker said: “Given that the Prime Minister is not going to resign, perhaps it is time for Matt Hancock to consider his position.”
Sir Charles Walker, Vice Chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbench MPs: “Given that the Prime Minister is not going to resign, perhaps it is time for Matt Hancock to consider his position.” Seems an important moment. Do you agree Hancock has to go?
— Dan Wootton (@danwootton) December 20, 2020
Asked about calls for his resignation, Matt Hancock 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.
“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.”
Matt Hancock said millions of people in many parts of the country may live under Tier 4 restrictions for months.
The daily recorded infections in the UK reached a record high of 35,928, official figures have shown. According to scientists, the new strain could be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original virus.
A number of neighbouring countries including France, Germany, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium have closed their borders to British travellers due to panic of the new highly infectious variant.