Sir Keir Starmer has called on the prime minister to impose a national “circuit-breaker” lockdown following reports the government ignored advice to implement one back in September.
The Labour leader has broken ranks to criticise the government over its latest lockdown measures.
Speaking at a press conference, Starmer said: “There’s no longer time to give this prime minister the benefit of the doubt.
“The government’s plan simply isn’t working. Another course is needed.
“That’s why I am calling for a two to three-week circuit break in England in line with Sage’s recommendation.”
The restrictions would not mean closing schools – but the Labour leader suggested it could be timed to coincide with the October half-term to minimise disruption.
He added: “Three things are now clear.
“The government has not got a credible plan to slow infection. It has lost control of the virus.
“And it is no longer following scientific advice.”
The government introduced a three-tiered system for localised lockdown which includes the closure of hospitality venues.
The plans have been described at not going far enough by the prime minister’s own chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty.
Standing beside the prime minister at a special press conference to set out the new measures, Prof Whitty said he was “not confident” that the Tier 3 restrictions would be enough to get on top of the virus on their own.