Boris’ Christmas chaos helps Labor gain a four point lead over Conservatives as support for Keir Starmer’s party hits a pandemic high of 41 percent
- Labor is four points ahead of the Conservatives heading into the festive season
- The poll for YouGov was conducted on Monday and Tuesday this week
- Came as PM announced tightened Christmas rules and new Tier 4
Boris Johnson’s latest change to the Christmas rules for millions of people showed that support for Labor has risen to the highest level in the entire pandemic, a new poll found today.
Keir Starmer’s party is four points ahead of Conservatives heading into the festive season amid the ongoing chaos over the rules that will govern families in England.
The poll for YouGov was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week as the Prime Minister announced his decision to cut a festive relaxation of Covid rules from five to one day and to plunge many areas into a new, tougher Tier 4 lockdown.
He had previously attacked proposals for the planned relaxation of the Covid rules, only to make a last-minute U-turn.
Within a week the Tories fell from 39 percent to 37 percent, while Labor rose from 37 percent to 41 percent. It is the first time that the opposition party under Sir Keir, who became leader in April, has exceeded the 40 percent mark.
It came as millions more families in England were placed in the toughest grade 4 immediately after Christmas as ministers struggled to control a surge in Covid fueled by the super-stress.
West Sussex and parts of East Sussex that are not yet in the top division could be included in the plans to be discussed by ministers today on Boxing Day.
Also under consideration are Burnley in Lancashire, where the infection rate is currently 438 per 100,000 people, and Lincoln and Boston in Lincolnshire, both of which have rates above 400.
In contrast, Gosport in Hampshire, which is already subject to Tier 4 measures, has 159 cases per 100,000 and the Chiltern area in Buckinghamshire has 202.
A Gold Command meeting yesterday stopped plunging Birmingham into Tier 4 – but it’s unclear if this will stay the same with the government’s next announcement.
As of December 17, the city’s rolling infection rate was 258 cases per 100,000 – but last night’s numbers showed there were 459 new cases.
Ministers and academics will meet this morning to discuss whether any changes are needed ahead of the December 30th review of the system launched last week.
The new variant, widespread in the southeast, has doubled the number of cases per week. Another 36,804 new infections and 691 deaths were registered yesterday.
And government officials are considering plans for a third full lockdown across England in January as the new strain of coronavirus – believed to be up to 70 percent more contagious – spreads to the Southwest, Midlands and North.
An announcement by Boris Johnson could be made today. Whitehall sources said there was a “high chance” of a New Year’s ban.
A senior minister this morning created confusion over whether the last-minute Christmas Day bubbles could be cleared, potentially adding further chaos to the Christmas plans of millions.
Community Secretary Robert Jenrick initially declined to rule out changes to the plan that would allow expanded households to live in a surge in cases fueled by a mutant strain of Covid on December 25.
Mr Jenrick told Sky News this morning, “If we have to change that (Christmas plans) in light of the new twist, we will not hesitate to do so.”
But later at the BBC breakfast he said it was “extremely unlikely” that Christmas Day plans would be changed in less than 48 hours by the time the presents were unwrapped.
He told BBC Breakfast that there are “no plans” to make changes for the 25th right now – despite earlier confirmation that ministers and experts will meet this morning to discuss what changes will be made to the plains of England in light of growth in the UK Cases are required.
It wasn’t until his third interview that morning on Radio 4’s Today program that he swore, “We won’t change people’s plans 24 to 48 hours before Christmas.”