Chancellor Rishi Sunak quit London 24 hours ahead of Tier 4 travel ban

Chancellor Rishi Sunak quit London 24 hours ahead of capital’s Tier 4 travel ban to spend Christmas in his Richmond constituency

  • Chancellor swapped Downing Street for North Yorkshire last Friday afternoon 
  • The next day Boris Johnson introduced Tier 4 with travel ban on the capital 
  • On Monday Labour demanded a public statement on economic support

Rishi Sunak was facing questions today after it emerged he quit London and drove 240 miles to spend Christmas in his his constituency home less more than 24 hours before a travel ban was imposed on the capital. 

The Chancellor swapped Downing Street for his constituency of Richmond in north Yorkshire last Friday afternoon, the day before Boris Johnson announced sweeping new curbs on the city.

And he will have to spend all of Christmas away from Downing Street, due to the bar on travelling in and out of Tier 4 areas like London implemented by the Prime Minister.

After arriving in his constituency, which is in Tier 2, he visited a local hospital on Monday – the same day that the Tier 4 restrictions were extended to pother parts of England. 

He posed for a picture which he posted on his Facebook page, on the same day that Labour called on him to ‘do the right thing’ and make a public statement on economic support measures amid fears of a third UK-wide full lockdown. 

Mr Sunak, 40, lives with his family in a magnificent Georgian manor house in the small village of Kirby Sigston, just outside Northallerton in North Yorkshire. 

After arriving in Richmond, which is in Tier 2, he visited a local hospital on Monday – the same day that the Tier 4 restrictions were extended to pother parts of England

London is in Tier 4, but Mr Sunak’s constituency home is in Richmond, in Tier 2 North Yorkshire

A Treasury source said no rules had been broken by the journey, pointing out that Mr Sunak is a constituency MP as well as finance minister, and he left well in advance of the Tier 4 restrictions being announced by Mr Johnson

A Treasury source said no rules had been broken by the journey – first reported by the Sun – pointing out that Mr Sunak is a constituency MP as well as finance minister, and he left well in advance of the Tier 4 restrictions being announced.

It came as official figures showed a sharp increases in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 in London, eastern England and south-east England, the ONS said.

London now has the highest rate of people testing positive, with an estimated 2.1 per cent of people in private households testing positive for Covid-19.

This is followed by south-east England (1.4%) and eastern England (1.2 per cent).

The percentage testing positive in south-west England has also increased during the most recent week, while rates have continued to decrease in north-west England and Yorkshire & the Humber.

More than 40 per cent of England’s population are settling in for lockdown conditions from Boxing Day after a further six million people were placed under Tier 4 restrictions.

Mr Hancock said the UK’s variant coronavirus was spreading at a “dangerous rate” as he announced the measures, which include tough restrictions on mixing with people and the closure of non-essential shops.

The changes were made as Government figures showed a further 744 people were reported to have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, the highest such figure since April 29 during the first peak of the virus.

There were a further 39,237 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus as of 9am on Wednesday, the highest figure reported on a single day throughout the whole pandemic – although this is in part due to much wider testing.

Areas moving to Tier 4 from Boxing Day are: Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, those parts of Essex not yet in Tier 4, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire – including Portsmouth and Southampton but with the exception of the New Forest.

Tier 4 restrictions include a warning to stay at home, a limit on household mixing to two people outdoors and force the closure of many shops, hairdressers and gyms.

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