Matt Hancock’s plot to block funding for disabled children if MP opposed lockdown

The then health secretary and his political aide discussed taking plan for a learning disability hub in Bury ‘off the table’


ByThe Lockdown Files Team

James Daly and Matt Hancock
James Daly, the MP for Bury North, and Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock discussed a plan to block funding for a new centre for disabled children and adults as a way of pressuring a rebel Tory MP to back new lockdown restrictions, The Lockdown Files show.

WhatsApp messages between Mr Hancock, the then health secretary, and his political aide show they discussed taking a plan for a learning disability hub in Bury, Greater Manchester, “off the table” if James Daly, the Bury North MP, sided against the Government in a key vote.

It came ahead of the vote on Dec 1, 2020 on the introduction of a toughened new local tiers system of restrictions for England.

The Telegraph has also obtained a WhatsApp message with an attached list of 95 Conservative MPs planning to vote against the tier system and detailing their concerns about it. 

The list was referred to by ministers as the vote approached and anxiety about a possible rebellion by backbench Conservative MPs increased.  

Full NameCommentsRegionWith HMG PTATierRatingIssue
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyNo – will vote against HMG or maybe ABSTAIN – feels there is a lack of parly scrutiny of the Tier system.SOUTH WESTN23PARLI SCRUTINY
Cox, GeoffreyCannot support at present. Will need transparency dashboard for each area. So local Authorities can measure where they are at and plot an escape. Also a meaningful review and vote very early after Christmas. Wanted to convey the strength of feeling here. They need to be given some hope of early change. They think they’re voting it through to March.SOUTH WESTN23PARLI SCRUTINY
Davis, DavidRefusing calls.YORKSHIREN33
Francois, MarkMark is quite cross and saying he only agreed to vote the once but is determined to vote against us on this next week. He also says he wants not calls or briefings as the science has been discredited and the cure is now worse than the disease. ‘We have lost the plot spending billions – we are not a Conservative govt now.EASTERNN23UN-CONSERVATIVE
Jones, DavidDavid Jones says he will probably vote against but wants more info.WALESNN/A3MORE DATA
Leadsom, AndreaWants to see proper impact assessment. Cannot support at present.EAST MIDLANDSN23COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS
Syms, RobertRobert Syms against, extremely critical, slating the PM in the tea room.SOUTH WESTN23
Blackman, BobVery unhappy that we still have no clear criteria on how we move up or down the COVID snakes & ladders. Seeking clarification as I don’t wish to give government blank cheque. I hope we have clarity on this Has suggested we have PM zoom parli party Monday night to lay on line what’ll happen in January if we don’t do this now! Book it so it’s planned rather than trying to shoehorn it in at the last minute.LONDONN23PARLI SCRUTINY
Brady, GrahamI will be voting against. Can I have some of your proxies please?!NORTH WESTN33
Gillan, CherylNot happy about bucks in tier 2 I would like to see the evidence as Chiltern figures were really wrong and when we can get to tier 1 I would like re classification so difficult to support.SOUTH EASTN23DISAGREES WITH TIER
Neill, BobI am unlikely to support the Government on Tuesday, particularly without a proper economic impact analysis, greater transparency on the way the criteria are applied in practice, especially the relative weighting given to each one, and why, much more local consultation and the reviews and areas, and a clear exit strategy. I’m not holding my breath.LONDONN23COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS
Wiggin, BillBill is very unhappy about the tiers, but this is conflated with unhappiness about several other things. He feels the PM spends more time with those that didn’t support him than those that did – and they therefore have more influence. Bill and his 92 Group have been promised a meeting’ but there has been no progress ( obviously the PM has been in isolation recently) although the PM previously found time to meet with Damien Green.WEST MIDLANDSN23DISAGREES WITH TIER
Davies, PhilipThinks the COVID approach is utterly ruinous and is destroying the economy and losing the party vast swathes of support in Northern areas such as his. ‘When has crashing the economy ever been the right solution to any problem?’YORKSHIREN33ECONOMIC HARM
Drax, RichardTotal madness and huge anger – will vote against the tiering.SOUTH WESTN23DISAGREES WITH TIER
Loughton, TimSays locally has only 2 Covid patients in ICU and 8 in the hospital in total and low infection rates, and rates are only slightly higher in surrounding arreas, so struggling to understand why he’s not Tier 1.SOUTH EASTN23DISAGREES WITH TIER
Mackinlay, CraigNo. I’ve been asking for data on my local infection rate (now 3rd worst), Director of Public Health Kent not giving me answers, I wonder what he’s paid forSOUTH EASTN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
McVey, EstherNo – against HMG. Consistent in her opposition to the regulations.NORTH WESTN23UN-CONSERVATIVE
Morris, Anne-MarieStrongly against. A pathway to moving down a tier would be persuasive to her, as would parli scrutiny.SOUTH WESTN23PARLI SCRUTINY
Rosindell, AndrewSpoke about regs but he is very dug in and has been very vocal on it “although you know how strongly I support the PM..”LONDONN23
Wood, MikeAgainst. Really need to see what additional financial support package is in place for those businesses that are going to be closed / severely curtailed. Current package completely inadequate.Too much of the new system makes little immediate sense. Will find it very difficult to support unless there is appropriate funding in pace.WEST MIDLANDSN33ECONOMIC HARM
Green, ChrisSpoke to Chris and he has confirmed that he will not be voting with the Government.NORTH WESTN33
Walker, CharlesI will not be supporting the Coronavirus legislation. Over the past few weeks a number of peaceful protests about the lockdown have been oppressively policed with people arrested; the youngest being just 19 years of age. The only remaining right of protest is now held by Members of Parliament. And I am going to exercise this right on behalf of all those concerned citizens who attach value to the idea that freedom to associate and express displeasure is fundamental to who they are and to who we are as a Country.EASTERNN23
Jenkinson, MarkCurrently can’t support. I understand from PHE there is no scoring criteria, it was a manual ministerial process – which is even worse given the promises we were made on not just using boundaries, but using travel to work and school areas, etc. My position: Told DHSC – wants to see the PHE weekly data publication. Has now been published – have shared and are following upNORTH WESTN23PROCESS
Wallis, JamieGot a PHD in maths’ (?) ‘hasn’t seen a cost benefit analysis’ Would not vote for it as it stands. Some businesses had to close in Porthcawl spent time with couple who spent 28 years building a business only to see it collapse. At the moment does not want to support this, trying not to be difficult etcWALESNN/A3COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS
Millar, RobinCiting Welsh Conservatives – doesnt believe in the policy and at present would not supportWALESNN/A3UN-CONSERVATIVE
Bradley, KarenVery unhappy – ‘I want to have a good look at it over the weekend and discuss with my local authority”WEST MIDLANDSN33
Brine, SteveSteve Brine says that he’s ‘not had any data and not seen what his whips are asking him to vote for, and as things stand he will vote against the motion with glee.’SOUTH EASTN23MORE DATA
Djanogly, JonathanBefore lockdown 58 per 100,000 now 65 per 100,000 lockdown hasnt worked and yet they have gone from tier 1 or 2. Voted against lockdown last time and would do so again.EASTERNN23DISAGREE WITH TIER
Doyle Price, JackieVery miserable – Plenty of economic harm to be done in tier 2.EASTERNN23ECONOMIC HARM
Ghani, NusHiding behind requests for data. ‘Waiting to see data. No one locally/county was consulted. Everyone miffed’SOUTH EASTN23MORE DATA
Knight, JulianCurrently no. Will only vote with us on the Covid regs if there is greater support outlined for pubs etc. Pleased that Solihull has been put with Warwickshire and not Birmingham.WEST MIDLANDSN33HOSPITALITY
Pawsey, MarkI’m aware what Matt has offered but I’m being Inundated by constituents& business who can’t see why we have been put in tier 3. I will await further information but can’t see right now how I can support the government on TuesdayWEST MIDLANDSN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Penrose, JohnNot sure if i’m going to be able to support my local authority being lumped in Bristol in tier 3 when our #s are tier 2 & neighbouring bath authority is treated separately from Bristol. Looks like a double standard? Am checking with my local authority later today to confirm data & will be able to revert after that if helpful?’ Has since issued joint statement with Fox – Against. Have spoken to John again. He says that he and Liam support the new tiers in principle, but they can’t support their constituencies being lumped in with Bristol. They are trying to decide between abstaining or voting against. John says that no DHSC minister has proactively tried to call them – this could help. Based on the current situation, it looks like John is more inclined to abstainSOUTH WESTN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Tracey, CraigAbsolutely no way I can vote for these restrictions. No consultation locally with PH or councils. My area lumped into Tier 3 despite cases being in Tier 1 before and cases dropping. Impact on hospitality in general is devastating. We are in a situation where good council leaders are contacting me to say they are not going to enforce rules.WEST MIDLANDSN33HOSPITALITY
Wright, JeremyCan’t support his areas being put in Tier 3. Thinks the geographies are wrong DHSC: annoyed that Warwickshire was lumped in with Coventry and Solihull. His council leader has written to Matt on this, and our reply (which will be sent over the weekend) will determine his vote (will pick this up with whips)WEST MIDLANDSN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Leigh, EdwardNot with us – “As I warned you. Putting a large rural county like Lincolnshire into Tier 3 makes it impossible for me to vote for Govt unless I am given a compelling rationale, which I have not seen. My district W Lindsey has never had high rate of infection.”EAST MIDLANDSN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Warburton, DavidNo – very unhappy with continued restrictions. Likely to vote against HMG/Abstain.SOUTH WESTN23
Butler, RobI can’t give you a ‘Yes’. Need the evidence. Not helped that despite promises of local engagement, my council and NHS were not spoken to at all.SOUTH EASTN23DISAGREES WITH TIER
Fell, SimonStill struggling with it. Grouping us into regions is going to kill my hospitality sector after months in tier 2 where efforts have driven the number of cases down successfully on a borough by borough approach. I’m still not there yet. Joining the No 10 call tomorrow but at the very least I’m need to see the clear assessment criteria for this tiering, and a route out that isn’t just us building up a cache for Christmas. Wants to be in tier 1. Doesn’t want to be kept in T2 due to Carlisle. Waiting to see economic impact data before makNORTH WESTN23HOSPITALITY / ECONOMIC HARM
Griffiths, KateNot currently. Wants to support but is coming under massive pressure from local brewers in Burton. She asks whether any further support could be provided to pubs/brewers etc.WEST MIDLANDSN33HOSPITALITY
Spencer, BenBen Spencer won’t decide until he sees the legislation but very difficult and unlikely to be with us.SOUTH EASTN23
Villiers, TheresaShe is very anxious about the impact this is all having on the hospitality industry and has had quite a lot of her pubs contact her.LONDONN23HOSPITALITY
McCartney, KarlNo and he’s not changing his mind.EAST MIDLANDSN33
Clark, GregNo – very unhappy with his Tier. Will vote against or maybe ABSTAIN.SOUTH EASTN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Ellwood, TobiasWith only 160 cases per 100k, I’m puzzled to see us placed in this tier which will cause further hardship for our hospitality industry. I will NOT be supporting the Gov’s motion to introduce this next week. ‘Think all Dorset MPs are very concerned. Many will vote against – im minded to abstain- but first want opportunity to make the case that we are the Same as the Isle of White.’SOUTH WESTN23HOSPITALITY
Fox, LiamNo – very unhappy about being covered by the same provision as Bristol city. Likely to vote against or ABSTAIN.SOUTH WESTN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Green, DamianDamien Green against as Kent in tier 3.SOUTH EASTN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Hayes, JohnAs far as Tuesday is concerned the designation of South Holland as tier 3, given that the number of cases here is well below the national average, is unreasonable, unscientific and unjust. Very unhappy.EAST MIDLANDSN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Mangnall, AnthonyWants parly review every 2 weeks.SOUTH WESTN23DISAGREES WITH TIER / PARLI SCRUTINY
Tugendhat, TomNo – against HMG – upset about being in Tier 3. Might end up ABSTAINING.SOUTH EASTN33DISAGREES WITH TIER
Afriyie, AdamWants cost benefit analysis, detailed hospital data & scientific basis for each restriction.SOUTH EASTN23COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS
Amess, DavidDavid is still stubbornly in the ‘undecided ‘ column. When pushed to say ‘how would you vote if the vote was this afternoon?’ he said he would abstain which he said ‘was a ‘pathetic answer.’ He says he hasn’t had the time to look at the detailed information that has been provided but is uncomfortable with the ongoing restrictions. He has assured me that he won’t surprise us on the day, but will let me know as soon as he has made up his mind. I don’t think a call from anyone would push him into an earlier decision.EASTERNN23
Baker, SteveSOUTH EASTN23
Chope, ChristopherI can’t support the regulations on TuesdaySOUTH WESTN23
Harper, MarkSOUTH WESTN23
McPartland, StephenI will vote against the Tier system and thought CSR was awful. I will vote against restrictions, as I don’t believe they work as you know. I have spoken to the Chief Exec of my hospital and Chairman of GPs they are supportive of me. I was surprised as thought Rishi was better than that. Loads, public sector pay freeze was not neccessary this year, no money for building safety, lots of money announced, but no real focus on how anything will be delivered. Allowing council tax to rise by 5% etc etc… Doesn’t matter though as they will u-turn on loads and we don’t vote on it anyway.EASTERNN23ECONOMIC HARM
Redwood, JohnThe more I’ve seen the data and it shows west berks and wokingham should be tier one not two.strong constituency backlash against policy. New tiers worse – Wokingham should not be in tier 2 .shoved there thanks to bad figures miles away in slough which we never visit. Crazy. The problem for rest of Berks was Slough. Government has now fixed that, leaving the problem as Reading, Wokingham and West Berks still in wrong tier – 2 instead of 1SOUTH EASTN23DISAGREES WITH TIER
Coutinho, Claire[Edited by the Telegraph]SOUTH EAST?22
Jupp, SimonThere is no doubt my hospitality industry will need additional support to survive tier 2. Without that, I cannot rule out anything next week. Now also calling for more Parli Scrutiny. Wants weekend to think. Concerned 6.5% absence at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Wants DHSC minister/spad to call on monday.SOUTH WEST?22HOSPITALITY / PARLI SCRUTINY
Loder, Chris‘I don’t know enough!’ Says he’s still waiting for answers to questions he’s asked (although he seems to keep asking the same questions of different people).SOUTH WEST?22
Robertson, LaurenceTBC – Very grumpy about the four month provision of the regulations, but will likely end up eventually supporting HMG.SOUTH WEST?22PARLI SCRUTINY
Smith, HenryIs still digesting data, was on SE call. Has a call with his local NHS. No decision made by him – after a promising initial reply last week, we will need to do a bit of work to get him.SOUTH EAST?22
Bone, PeterUndecided (leaning No). Hoping that the G Group gets to have a meeting with the PM before the vote. Can this be arranged? Unhappy about Northants being in Tier 2.EAST MIDLANDS?22DISAGREES WITH TIER
Duncan Smith, IainNot returning calls.LONDON?22
May, TheresaNot returning calls. Mrs. May would like to reverse her proxy and instead will be voting in person – bad sign.SOUTH EAST?22
Berry, JakeI will let you know on a Monday how I intend to vote on the Covid restrictions. Whip chasing for more.NORTH WEST?32
Ahmad-Khan, ImranImran says he is still looking for ‘a fig leaf’ to give him cover to vote for the new tiers, but he can’t find that fig leaf in the data that has been published. In essence, he doesn’t believe the data and the narrative justifies the tiers that have been imposed.YORKSHIRE?32DISAGREES WITH TIER
Daly, JamesHas just called me to say that, by his own admission he tends to go up and down in terms of how he is feeling, he genuinely is supportive of the government and understands the difficult position they find themselves in. He said he wants to support the regs but feels that some extra support for the hospitality industry in the higher tiers would help get more colleagues over the line. He is particularly concerned about pubs in his patch that just cannot serve food and he fears there is a lack of understanding about the nature of these venues. Many are not equipped or able to adapt to food service and are very much community hubs. If they go under he worries people will not forget that. DHSC: wants Bury to be viewed separately to Greater Manchester. Main concern is hospitality sector – wants extra support for hospitality before committing to voting for GovtNORTH WEST?32HOSPITALITY
Vickers, MattUndecidedNORTH EAST?32
Wakeford, ChristianA) still really concerned about hospitality, sports clubs and Chanukah. B)I really don’t know yetNORTH WEST?32HOSPITALITY
Holloway, AdamWill vote for them if Labour are supporting so they will go through. But if Labour not supporting, he will vote against. Why are we not using the talents of the Backbenchers in this crisis. Why are we not running the NHS hot, fully using the Nightingales and moving patients around the country to hospitals where there is capacity rather than locking up the population to stop them getting what is in effect a mild form of fluSOUTH EAST?32
Bridgen, AndrewCOVID Regs but with the proviso that Leicestershire is decoupled from Leicester for all future decisions about Tier levels. Leicestershire MPs would like a meeting with the Chief to discuss this point.EAST MIDLANDS?32DISAGREES WITH TIER
Fysh, MarcusHoping to vote Y but but are the regs indefinite or is there a sunset / review period that will properly involve local input? Supports principle of tiers. May well be with us but would like more robust sunset, and not to write a blank cheque until March. Also has a technical q (of course!) about testing regimes in tiers 2 and 3: Am unhappy about this being the status until March. Understand lateral flow tests are being given to Tier 3 first, so Tier 2 will have to rely on PCR for Pillar 2 which is highly unreliable in terms of delivering very large proportions of false positives when prevalence is as low as it is and it is being used in asymptomatic testing. Given PHE / DHSC’s unwillingness to answer my questions on this aspect it makes me think it will be impossible to convince them of anything but keeping the restrictions till March if they keep asymptomatic testing going at the rate that it currently is It would also be good to look at whether there could be household mixing in hospitality setting within the Rule of 6 in Tier 2, since I am worried the restriction just drives such mixing underground into nonsupervised environments otherwiseSOUTH WEST?22PARLI SCRUTINY
Knight, GregI have asked Matt H as he has put E Yorks in a higher tier than adjoining seat of Thirsk and Malton in N Yorks, can any of my border villages join the adjoining lower tier if their infection rates are comparable? He has said he would look into it but has not responded. I will decide my position when I receive his response. Expecting a call from Hancock or another minister about his area (low) being lumped in higher tier next to high rate area. Chasing the call.YORKSHIRE?32DISAGREES WITH TIER
McCartney, JasonNeed more support for the my hospitality businesses please. £2100 a month doesn’t make up for £10k in takings a night during busy Xmas period. How do we get out of tier 3? We’ve been in restrictions since 1 August! When pressed he said he would support if he gets answers.YORKSHIRE?32HOSPITALITY
Anderson, LeeCOVID Regs – No – concerned about livelihoods, had about 80 emails today because Ashfield is in T3. He’s ‘supporting his constituents’. For the last COVID vote he put a survey out and majority wanted the regs supported. He’s going to do the same this time. Told DHSC: annoyed with Govt messaging. Didn’t like WMS publication first and then Oral Statement. Is worried about Not sure which way he’s going to vote next week, but will “probably” vote with Govt.EAST MIDLANDS?32DISAGREES WITH TIER
Cates, MiriamI do understand the hospitals issue which is why I voted with HMG last time, but I think we need to decide what’s the right moral thing to do and then look at how we can effect the practical – it wasn’t practical to go to war against Hitler, millions died and we devastated our economy, but we decided it was the right thing morally and so directed the practical. We need to decided what is the right moral approach here and then find a practical way to deliver it. We’ve had a month to get nightingales ready etc and find alternatives – I’m not at all suggesting no restrictions but these are too devastating to people given the risks. Sorry I meant 14 days but my point is, will we get another vote or is this it until March? Told DHSC: Wants monthly parly renewal votes. Said will “probably” vote for Govt.YORKSHIRE?32PARLI SCRUTINY
Grayling, ChrisWhen is the next vote on the regs? Does Parliament get another say before March?SOUTH EAST?22PARLI SCRUTINY
Howell, JohnNot sure he can support, but with Council of Europe he probably will. He is thinking over the weekendSOUTH EAST?22
Hunt, JanePPS so I will be brutal with her in a call tomorrow and fully expect her to come in line. Jane Hunt called to express her continued unhappiness and say she was taking her proxy back from the Deputy and would decide next week how to vote. I said for a PPS this was not acceptable and she should quit as a PPS if she couldn’t support the Government at such an important time for the country.EAST MIDLANDS?32
Percy, AndrewNot committing yet. Pubs! I was very unhappy with the reply to my PMQ yesterday. I pushed him on whether he will vote for the regs to which he replied, ‘Well I really wanna hear something on that. So unfair to Tier 2 pubs that can’t do food Told DHSC: keen for mass testing in Hull and his patch. “Probably” going to vote with Govt – agrees should be in T3 but wants support for hospitality.EAST MIDLANDS?32HOSPITALITY
Smith, GregI still want to see the analysis the Harper/Baker letter asked for and study it in detail. I am absolutely furious that Bucks is in tier 2 and that there has been no local input into the decision (a particularly sore point given Matt at the dispatch box earlier said my local DPH had been invited to take part — but my Council Chief Exec has confirmed with me since that there has been absolutely no consultation, only top down briefings). I will look at the impact assessments, but as it stands I don’t see how I can vote for unreasonable restrictions being placed on my constituency from the centre.SOUTH EAST?22DISAGREES WITH TIER
Sturdy, JulianUndecided. Is distinctly unhappy. Wants to see the figures and the stats. Feels he has reluctantly supported all this, but this is now too far. We seem to be coming out of the ‘lockdown’ in a bad position – but not in terms of the virus itself. Covid is falling dramatically in his area, but these continuing restrictions are really harming businesses. Vaccine is a gamble as it may not work out. So we need to learn to live with the virus, and open the economy up. Hospitality is crucial in his area – the businesses have spent a lot of money trying to get this right, but have been thrown under the bus again. Won’t rush to make a decision. Just thinks we need to think slightly longer-term and much harder on the issue of the economic scarring. The cure is worse than the virus – we have passed the tipping point.YORKSHIRE?22HOSPITALITY
Buchan, FelicityMatt Hancock said London could only go to T1 if it reached Cornwall levels so she says that’s never and we end up in permanent T2. The March expiry of the restrictions has been reiterated. DHSC: tempted to vote for Govt but didn’t commit either way. Wanted to know what it takes to get to Tier 1.LONDON?22PARLI SCRUTINY / DISAGREES W TIER
Collins, DamianHe is wobbling following the decision on tiering. He has a meeting with Matt Hancock and other Kent MP’s to clarify certain things and will I talk to him again following that.SOUTH EAST?32DISAGREES WITH TIER
Crouch, TraceyTier 3 is problematic. I’ll do what other (sensible) Kent do. But the whole tier thing is a shower. How come Slough can be treated differently to Berkshire but thanet or swale or medway cannot. Plus we wanted to discuss these points in further detail and instead ignored and told we’re going into tiers. Meanwhile not only are pubs and hospitality on their knees, despite no evidence that they are transmitters, but —– ——– ——– likely to be cancelled. I can go to town to shop with the masses but not have a glass of wine in a pub with the other half. It’s a joke. But I’ll talk to you Monday with my final decision. If you’re uncomfortable being my proxy let me know and I’ll transfer.SOUTH EAST?32DISAGREES WITH TIER
Merriman, HuwI don’t know about Tuesday. I’m pretty frustrated about the levels of incompetence from DoH. Ministers are still maintaining local council, PH and NHS leads were involved or consulted when they absolutely were not. They’ve just been told there were not by the SE PH Director so I’m not sure why the record is being played.”SOUTH EAST?22DISAGREES WITH TIER
Davies, GarethI am in tier 3 despite having an R below 1 – I need to look closely at this before letting you know but as I mentioned many times, my local community are dismayed. DHSC – wants a meeting with him, Matt and John Hayes to discuss before the vote. Have acceptedEAST MIDLANDS?32DISAGREES WITH TIER
Higginbotham, AntonyTiering will have to be a tbc I’m afraid. Going to be exceptionally difficult to vote for tier 3 knowing fully the impact that will have. Challenge any to look at a double digit unemployment rate and then vote to increase it, which is the ask I face. “I’ve spent the last day talking to hospitality and associated businesses across Burnley to really understand t s there was hou. Worth noting that Burnley has had restrictions for far longer than most. Even Eat Out to Help Out had limited utility a published Monday, but HMT need to move quickly to provide the necessary financial support – going beyond that which has been announced so far. December is normally a key month. Sorry for doom & gloom, you know I try to be helpful and positive, but this is dire locally nowNORTH WEST?32ECONOMIC HARM / HOSPITALITY
Moore, RobbieMy constituency has had local restrictions since July. Businesses are being seriously impacted and I do feel that we are starting to loose the goodwill which we fort so hard to get at the election from not allowing certain businesses to open. Under Tier 3 – we are still keeping hotel accommodation closed – included self catered. Dance studios can’t open for small classes. Pubs and hospitality are going to hit hard. The financial support doesn’t seem to help too much under Tier 3. There can be no substitute for getting businesses open. I also feel frustrated that it is a huge regional approach – which means that my good areas are going to struggle to get out of Tier 3. We have North Yorkshire on the doorstep which is in Tier 2.YORKSHIRE?32ECONOMIC HARM / DISAGREES WITH TIER / HOSPITALITY
Hollobone, PhilipNot sure on either – I think he is highly unlikely to vote for the Covid regs based on past form.EAST MIDLANDS?22
Latham, PaulineAngry. Says it is doubtful she will vote with us.EAST MIDLANDS?32
Lord, JonathanSpeaking to Steve Baker before deciding.SOUTH EAST?22
Seely, BobI will very likely vote with Govt on both – TBCSOUTH EAST?12
Wragg, WilliamNot returning whip calls.

Allan Nixon, Mr Hancock’s political aide overseeing relations with MPs in Parliament, messaged his boss with a suggestion of how to ensure the backing of as many Tory MPs as possible from the 2019 intake who won their seats in the Boris Johnson landslide.

In a message to Mr Hancock, sent on Nov 22, 2020, Mr Nixon said: 

Mr Daly – whose constituency is the most marginal in the UK mainland with a majority of just 105 – told The Telegraph he was “appalled” and “disgusted” that the disability hub, for which he had been campaigning, had been discussed as a way of coercing him into voting with the Government. 

He said he had never been contacted by the Whips’ Office and no threat to block the scheme had been made.

Jake Berry, Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen, called the Telegraph’s revelations an “absolute disgrace”, and said Mr Hancock should be “dragged to the bar of the House of Commons” to explain himself on Tuesday morning.

It comes as The Telegraph reveals further WhatsApp messages showing that Mr Hancock planned to give French Covid patients places in UK hospitals during the second national lockdown.

It has also emerged that Sir Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, told the Government not to introduce an effective “sex ban” during the first lockdown.

Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, has faced a backlash for his part in the discussions over lockdown. The Telegraph has revealed that he described Mr Johnson as “distrusted” and has previously reported that he called it “hilarious” that holidaymakers returning to Britain were “locked up” in hotel rooms.

Current and former senior civil servants described his comments as “naive” and “cringeworthy”, and questioned whether he would remain in post.

The attempts to keep MPs onside are contained in WhatsApp conversations obtained by The Telegraph and included in The Lockdown Files.

On the morning of the vote, Mr Hancock messaged his adviser to say: “James Daly is with us”, but Mr Nixon responded with the caveat: “If extra hospitality support is forthcoming.”

Later that day, Mr Nixon also forwarded his boss a new list of MPs who were undecided on the vote. In the event, Mr Daly voted against the Government, according to the parliamentary record.

In total, 55 Conservative MPs opposed the tiers system, forcing Mr Johnson to rely on Labour abstaining to get the measures through. It was, at the time, the biggest rebellion of the Johnson administration.

After revealing that he had not been contacted by the Whips’ Office, Mr Daly said: “It sounds like the whips didn’t bother.”

The Bury North MP said he was surprised that the hub, which would allow specialists to coordinate activity under one roof, was even being threatened because “it never got dangled in the first place”.

He added: “They were never proposing to give it to me. I still don’t have it. Even though I have repeatedly campaigned for it, Hancock never showed the slightest bit of interest in supporting it. I had a number of conversations with Hancock at that time, but I can definitively say the hub was never mentioned.

“I think it is appalling. The fact that they would only give a much needed support for disabled people if I voted for this was absolutely disgusting.”

Mr Daly had discussed the need for the centre with Mr Hancock in January 2020. In a post on his website about “how we improve health outcomes for all Bury North residents”, he published a photograph of himself with the then health secretary. The hub, he said, would benefit “the most vulnerable in our community”.

Three days before the vote, Mr Nixon had sent the WhatsApp message with the attached list of 95 Conservative MPs that the Whips’ Office had passed to him, detailing their concerns and giving a rating on how likely they were to rebel. 

It also noted which tier each MP’s constituency would be going into following the vote. In the end, the Government persuaded 37 of the MPs threatening to rebel to vote for the tier system, while a further eight abstained.

Mr Nixon told Mr Hancock: 

The vote gave the go-ahead for the tightened system of tiers. The new measures plunged most of England into the strictest levels and were introduced after a month-long “circuit breaker” lockdown as cases rose in the run-up to Christmas.

In total, more than 23 million people were placed in the highest Tier 3, including Greater Manchester and Birmingham, with almost the entire rest of the country – 32 million people – in Tier 2, including London and Liverpool

Just three regions, or just over one per cent of the population, were put into Tier 1.


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