Shelagh Fogarty challenges Tory MP over logic of three tier system as cases surge

15 October 2020, 16:36 | Updated: 15 October 2020, 16:49

By Fiona Jones

Shelagh Fogarty challenged Conservative MP Nickie Aiken over the logic of introducing a three tier lockdown system when Manchester has been living under a Tier 2 style lockdown "for weeks and months and you've seen a spike."

London is set to move into Tier 2 of the Government's coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Friday, Sadiq Khan has confirmed.

Moving from "medium" up to "high" now sees the nine million people living in the capital banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

On Monday the Prime Minister unveiled the region-specific three tier lockdown system with the Labour leader calling for a two week "circuit-breaker" national lockdown the following day.

This comes as the UK has hit a daily record of 19,724 coronavirus cases, an increase of almost 2,500 (or 14%) on the figure for the previous day.

MP for Cities of London and Westminster Nickie Aiken told Shelagh she "believes the [PM's] strategy is the right one which is a regional tiered system."

Shelagh countered, "Even though the one that's already existed hasn't worked?" She pointed out that Manchester has been living under what is now known as the Tier 2 restriction "for weeks and months...and you've seen a spike."

Ms Aiken blamed the spike on people "out partying" - Shelagh insisted, "That's not the reason. Loads of people have been complying. You can't just blame individuals."

Ms Aiken said she was not blaming individuals and went on to cite students as a reason for infection rise in the Tier 2 areas.

When asked what she is seeking from the Government now that London has entered the second tier, Ms Aiken said: "I have been asking the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister himself about a pathway so that we can all understand how we get back to the medium tier."

She continued that the Government's Track and Trace system is "improving all time", saying, "I think it was interesting that the French and President Macron himself was saying how excellent our system is."

Shelagh corrected Ms Aiken over this summary: "He didn't say that. He said France hasn't made as much progress on its testing and tracking and tracing system as the UK. So there you go. It was a compliment, but it wasn't that compliment."

.Ms Aiken then doubled down on her conviction that the three tier strategy was a superior choice to a two-week 'circuit breaker' national lockdown said: "I believe that the [current Government] strategy is the right one, which is a regional tiered system. And it's got to be in conjunction with local leaders."