Britons are waking up to a continued stand-off between the government in London and local authority leaders in the north of England over the prime minister’s flagship policy for tackling the coronavirus in England.
Those plans have descended into chaos after mayors and MPs from the north-west of England emphatically rejected being moved into the highest lockdown, with talks continuing late into the night.
Fresh efforts to reach an agreement will continue today as scientists and health experts look on with dismay.
Elsewhere in the UK
• New Covid-19 restrictions are due to coming to force in Northern Ireland, where an extended break for school children also begins today.
• Extended ‘circuit break’ type restrictions are due to be announced in the next few days in Wales
• New rules have come into force in Scotland to extend the mandatory wearing of face coverings, which will now be required in workplace settings such as canteens.
While ministers could still unilaterally impose a lockdown in England, they believe local leaders’ cooperation is crucial in communicating and enforcing the restrictions.