Labour leader Keir Starmer has called on the Prime Minister to convene an emergency COBRA meeting to review the current relaxation of restrictions over Christmas, following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Keir Starmer said: “It has become increasingly clear over recent days that the tier system you introduced two weeks ago has failed to control transmission of Covid-19. Sadly, it does now appear that the Government has – once again – lost control of infections, putting our economy and our NHS at grave risk in the new year.”

He adds: “I understand that people want to spend time with their families after this awful year, but the situation has clearly taken a turn for the worse since the decision about Christmas was taken. It serves no-one for politicians to ignore this fact.

“It is my view that you should now convene COBRA in the next 24 hours to review whether the current relaxation is appropriate given the rising number of cases.”

The Labour leader has pledged to support the Government if it concludes that tougher restrictions will be needed to save lives, protect the NHS and secure the economy from another national lockdown.

He says: “If you conclude with Government scientists that we need to take tougher action to keep people safe over Christmas, then you will have my support.”

Warning that short-term indecision could cause long-term damage to our NHS and economy, Starmer says: “This is a critical moment for our country. The tiered system has not kept the virus under control and has left us with precious little headroom. Put simply, if you take the wrong decision now, the ramifications for our NHS and our economy in the new year could be severe.”