POLITICS
05/01/2021 11:06 GMT | Updated 05/01/2021 12:03 GMT

Boris Johnson To Hold Downing Street Press Conference

The prime minister will speak at 5pm, a day after imposing a third lockdown on England.

Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street press conference at 5pm on Tuesday, No.10 has said.

The prime minister will be joined by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.

In a televised address on Monday, Johnson announced England would be placed into its third national lockdown, including the closure of schools.

The prime minister warned the coming weeks will be the “hardest yet” as infections surged.

But he said that “with a fair wind in our sails” it should be possible to vaccinate 13 million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February, paving the way for controls to be eased.

Keir Starmer will respond to Johnson in a statement to be broadcast on BBC1 at 7pm. The Labour leader had urged the government to bring in a national lockdown.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, on Tuesday morning said the new rules may have to remain in place until March.

“We will keep these constantly under review, but we can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15-22,” he told Sky News.

“What we will be doing is everything that we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can begin to progressively lift restrictions.

“I think it is right to say that, as we enter March, we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, meanwhile, unveiled a fresh £4.6 billion support package for businesses across the UK dealt a further crippling blow by enforced closures.

It includes one-off top-up grants worth up to £9,000 for firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors to help nurse them through to the spring.

Johnson’s announcement came after Nicola Sturgeon imposed a lockdown on Scotland for the rest of January, with a legal requirement to stay at home and schools closed to most pupils until February.

Schools and colleges in Wales will also remain closed until at least January 18 and move to online learning, while in Northern Ireland – which is already under a six-week lockdown – “stay at home” restrictions will be brought back into law and a period of remote learning for schoolchildren will be extended.