A senior Tory MP has called on Matt Hancock to resign after he introduced a new round of strict coronavirus measures across London and much of South-East England days before Christmas.
Sir Charles Walker, vice chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, made the remarks following the government’s latest lockdown plans.
The public has been advised against meeting with family members over Christmas while all non-essential shops have been told to shut after being placed into a new Tier 4.
Sir Charles told the Telegraph: “Given that the prime minister is not going to resign, perhaps it is time for Matt Hancock to consider his position.”
Hancock said he had no intention of quitting during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
“I know that Charles is very upset at the measures that we have had to bring in, and he has been throughout.
“Unfortunately, these measures are absolutely necessary to save lives.
“I’m dealing with a global pandemic in the best way we possibly can with huge pressures already on the NHS with case rates that are climbing and we must take action no matter how uncomfortable we find it.”
Boris Johnson convened an urgent meeting of Cabinet on Saturday after fresh data showed a sharp spike in coronavirus cases in parts of England.
A mutated strain of Covid-19 is believed to be behind the recent surge in the south east of England.
In a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Johnson said: “We will introduce new restrictions in the most affected areas, specifically those parts of London, the south-east and east of England which are currently in Tier 3.
“These areas will enter a new Tier 4. Residents in those areas must stay at home apart from limited exemptions.
“We cannot continue with Christmas as planned. In England those living in Tier 4 areas must not mix with anyone outside their own households at Christmas.”
He added: “There will be no relaxation on December 31 so people must not break the rules at new year.
“I know how much emotion people invest at this time of year and how important it is for families to be together, so I know how disappointing this will be.”