Boris Johnson Says New COVID-19 Restrictions Have Feb. 3 Expiration Date

November 29, 2020 Updated: November 29, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told his lawmakers that the new tiered system of CCP virus restrictions will have a “sunset” expiration date of Feb. 3, 2021, in an apparent attempt to win support from Tory MPs ahead of the Commons vote on the new measures on Tuesday.

When the ongoing month-long national lockdown ends on Dec. 2, a new system will come into force in England, placing most regions under higher tiers of restrictions than before the current lockdown.

Dozens of Tory MPs have voiced their opposition to future lockdowns as a means to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, which was caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

London
A waiter poses for photographs as he waits for customers outside a restaurant, after it reopened following the COVID-19 outbreak, in London, UK, on July 5, 2020. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the 70-member strong Parliamentary COVID Recovery Group (CRG), said “The authoritarianism at work today is truly appalling.”

To avert a Tory rebellion on Tuesday, Boris Johnson wrote a letter to Conservative MPs and peers on Saturday, in which he defended the measures as “necessary,” but said “they will not last for ever.”

The regulations will be reviewed every fortnight and “have a sunset of 3 February,” he wrote, adding that Parliament will have another vote in late January to decide whether the tiered approach should stay in place until the end of March.

The rules could be eased in December when the first fortnightly review takes place. A cabinet committee will consider the views of local public health chiefs and decide if any areas should change tiers, after which the changes will come into effect on Dec. 19, the letter said.

Johnson also promised to publish more data and set out what circumstances need to change for an area to be considered to move down a tier.

He gave assurance that Parliament will be given a full role as the government implements its plans to tackle the pandemic, and MPs will have access to the necessary data and evidence underlying the government’s decisions.

Baker responded by saying on Twitter that MPs were “glad to share in the burden of decision.”

But he added, “That’s why we need the information necessary to show the government’s restrictions will do more good than harm, in full and in time. It is a modest request.”

In an article published in the Mail on Sunday, the prime minister said there would be “disastrous consequences” for the National Health Service if the government did not introduce the new tiered system.

He said restrictions will be de-escalated with every substantial reduction in infection, and that “Easter will mark a real end point and a real chance to return to something like life as normal.”

Lily Zhou contributed to this report.