Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans tells LBC why he is challenging PM's tier system

30 November 2020, 08:22 | Updated: 30 November 2020, 09:43

By Fiona Jones

Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans explains why he is pushing against the tougher tier system with up to 100 other Conservative MPs.

The Prime Minister has told MPs they must back his tougher tier system to avoid a third national lockdown.

In a letter to MPs, Boris Johnson has insisted the indoor socialising ban that covers 99% of England is necessary to avoid "the overwhelming of the NHS."

The PM has promised a chance to vote on the system at the end of January as he faces up to 100 of his own party members pushing against the tighter tier restrictions which come into force on Wednesday.

The Government is due to publish impact assessments of England's new tiered system of Covid restrictions later today.

Deputy Speaker and Conservative MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans is calling for the PM to provide data which justifies keeping restaurants, bars and cafes closed in Tier Three, the restriction level his constituency will face.

"A lot of us do believe that closing our businesses and keeping them shut for this period, we do really need the data to demonstrate that it really is the hospitality trade that is the devil here," Mr Evans told Nick.

Read more: PM offers Tory rebels 3 February 'sunset' for Covid tier system

He continued, "Asking to go into Tier Two is not asking to go into heaven...you're talking about one bubble being allowed to sit around a table with no more than six having table service. If you have any alcohol you've got to have a substantial meal."

The Deputy Speaker told LBC "there's a hint" that on 16 December areas in England will drop down a tier: "I believe [the Cabinet] are quite aware to the concern MPs have got - not for themselves it's for entrepreneurs in their own constituencies. A lot of them have sunk their own money into their businesses and they are firmly closed at the moment."

Reflecting on the protestations of the Conservatives, Mr Evans said, "When you've got a lot of discontent within your own party, even if [Labour leader] Keir was to come and support the measures on Tuesday, then it's not a good place to be.

"It does mean that communications may need to be looked at yet again...between Downing Street and their members of parliament."