‘Fury’ in Number 10 as England lockdown plans leak to media

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DOWNING Street has launched an inquiry after Cabinet discussions on a possible England-only coronavirus lockdown were leaked to the media last night.

A “senior government source” told The Times that an announcement was coming as soon as Monday as coronavirus cases rise faster than the “worst-case scenario” predicted.

There is reportedly fury in Number 10 this morning after the leak, which disclosed the details explored by the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet members at yesterday’s meeting.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove attended the meeting with Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: Covid: The restrictions a new England-wide lockdown could include

Number 10 had been keen to hold any announcement until Monday.

Beth Rigby, Sky News’ political editor, said there are “furious” people in government this morning, while Politico’s Alex Wickham agreed. He wrote that Johnson is particularly angry, while Number 10 insist they did not brief the story and say “whoever is responsible has damaged trust in the middle of a public health crisis”.

Scientists are now set to brief the Cabinet at 1pm, while a full Cabinet meeting will be held remotely immediately after.

This morning, following The Times report, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales warned of the dangers of briefing major information like this to the media.

John Apter said: “To those briefing selective media on a potential national lockdown please understand the impact this has. It creates a media frenzy, causes confusion and ahead of any official announcement encourages some to make the most of their pre lockdown time. This is not a good mix!

“This can add immense pressure to the 999 services who are already struggling with the demand they have. Please be more responsible. Clear communication, not corridor briefings.”

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