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Tory civil war: Sir Charles Walker erupts at Boris’ new tier rules ahead of crunch vote

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Sir Charles Walker hit out at the coronavirus plans to keep the elderly safe as he argued not everyone can be protected. Speaking in Parliament, Sir Charles said: “We talk about elderly people as if they’re not in the room. We talk over their heads, we patronise them.

“We say to them this is being done in your name to keep you safe and actually really your view is of little interest to us.

“I’ve been contacted by many grandparents and parents who say, ‘I don’t want to see my children’s and grandchildren’s future destroyed’.

“I don’t want to see my son and daughter worrying about losing their home, worrying about losing their livelihood.

“I don’t want to see my grandchildren arrested on the streets of London for daring to raise their voice in protest at the removal of their liberties.

“Old people have a view and we should listen to it.”

He added: “We cannot protect every old person but we can provide them with the information to make informed choices about their own safety because you don’t get old by being that stupid.

“There’s a degree of wisdom in older people.”

The Government is expected to win Tuesday’s Commons vote on the new rules – which are due to come into effect the following day – after Labour said it would abstain.

Sir Keir Starmer – who has previously backed Government measures – said while his party had “serious misgivings” it would not be in the national interest to vote them down when the virus still posed a “serious risk”.

However, with scores of Conservative MPs deeply unhappy at the restrictions, the vote is likely to throw Tory divisions into sharp relief.

Many backbenchers are furious their constituencies face stricter controls than before the latest lockdown which ends on Wednesday.

At a No 10 news conference on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped some areas could be moved into lower tiers when the restrictions come up for their first fortnightly review on December 16.

But scientists advising the Government have made clear they see little scope for any widespread easing before Christmas.

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It could mean most areas of England will go into the new year in one of the toughest two tiers with a ban on households mixing indoors and strict controls on the hospitality sector.

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been designated for the lightest Tier 1 restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Government said a rapid coronavirus test that gives results in 20 minutes has been confirmed as having high sensitivity to the virus.

An evaluation carried out by NHS trusts and universities found the OptiGene RT-Lamp test to be effective in identifying infectious cases, including for people not displaying symptoms, in contrast to a report by the Guardian earlier this month claiming the test identified only 46.7 percent of infections during a trial in Manchester and Salford.

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