'Put it in your diary': Dominic Raab tells LBC lockdown will end on Dec 2

4 November 2020, 08:41 | Updated: 4 November 2020, 08:44

By Asher McShane

The Foreign Secretary told LBC today that England's lockdown will definitely come to an end on December 2 and will not be extended because it will be "written into law."

Asked by Nick Ferrari why no economic assessment was published ahead of the lockdown, Mr Raab told LBC: “I’ll let the chancellor and the treasury explain what they publish and what they don’t.

“This [lockdown] is a last resort measure but we have had to do it. We recognise the economic cost that’s involved.

“Come the second of December we will revert to the tailored geographically targeted approach because economically that is less painful.

Asked whether it was a “cert” Mr Raab said: “put it in your diary, it’s written into law."

MPs are to vote on a new four-week coronavirus lockdown for England amid warnings the NHS will be overwhelmed with thousands more deaths unless action is taken.

With Labour backing the new restrictions, which are due to come into force on Thursday, the Government is expected comfortably to win Wednesday's Commons vote.

Nevertheless Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a revolt by some Tory backbenchers angry at the impact on civil liberties and the economic damage the measures will cause.

It is thought about 15 Conservative MPs could defy the whips and vote against the new controls - although the parliamentary arithmetic means their rebellion is likely to be largely symbolic.

Meanwhile police chiefs in the North West have warned they will come down hard on anyone who believed they could "flout" the restrictions.

In a joint open letter, the chief constables of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria said they would particularly target those organising music events or other large gatherings, and those who refuse to self-isolate.

"To the minority who feel the restrictions don't apply to them, be prepared to face the consequences of greater levels of enforcement," they said.

Ahead of the Commons vote, Mr Johnson warned of "fatalities running in the thousands" if no action was taken as cases across the country continued to rise.

At the same time he sought to offer hope, telling Tuesday's Cabinet meeting that the R number - the reproduction rate of the virus - was "only just above 1" and the new measures would bring it back below that threshold.

Unlike the last national lockdown in March, schools and colleges will remain open under the new controls, which are due to run to December 2.

However pubs and restaurants will be forced to close, except for takeaways and deliveries, as will gyms, entertainment venues and non-essential shops.

People will be banned from socialising with other households indoors, and only allowed to meet one other person from another household outdoors.

There has been criticism, however, over rules which mean children's grassroots sports will be banned outside school settings.

Some Tories have also hit out at a ban on communal worship, which has meant church services marking Remembrance Sunday have had to be cancelled.

However, the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, giving evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee, said the restrictions had to been seen as part of a "package of measures" to get the R rate below one.

"The danger in trying to pick apart each one, and when you get down to the ones towards a lower level where you might say, 'Well, this doesn't make much of an impact on its own', is that you keep cutting things off and then you end up with a sub-optimal package," he said.