Downing Street in ‘crisis mode’ as cabinet meets to discuss potential Christmas restrictions

What came out of Monday’s Cabinet meeting? ITV News deputy political editor Anushka Asthana has the details

All weekend there was talk of a press conference at Downing street. Officials were told on Friday that there could be a Saturday. On Saturday they said maybe Sunday. And today they’re pointing fingers this afternoon.They know there is an urgent need to say something as speculation over further restrictions mounts. But there are a couple of things that might hold the Prime Minister back.The first is data. At a Cabinet meeting on Saturday, a number of ministers argued that the evidence should be in place first, before decisions are made. Even Chancellor Rishi Sunak said stages with multi-million pound consequences must have solid statistics behind them.That’s not to say the Chancellor would resist further restrictions, but he – and the entire Cabinet – want more definitive data from Imperial on the severity of the Omicron variant first.

Anushka Asthana says missing data is preventing ministers from making decision on imposing new Covid measures

Many wonder if the first indications from South Africa that Omicron may be less serious than Delta will prove to be true (although Cabinet ministers do not hope this will make a sufficient difference to avoid the need for restrictions) .It will therefore be a difficult virtual cabinet at 2 p.m. today, given that the data is still not finalized.Second, the policy. Mr Johnson must remind Parliament to do anything beyond advice. If the President is informed today, MPs could be back on Wednesday to approve any package.

What will the NHS do if the government delays the introduction of new measures? ITV News editor-in-chief Emily Morgan explains

It is likely to be triggered after Christmas, as the PM is reluctant to spoil the 25 for families – and Labor seems to be backing him on that. It is worth saying that the Conservatives who are against further restrictions think this position does not make sense – they say if you think you need to act, surely you will do it now.Boris Johnson will win a vote with Labor backing. But many of its own MPs will rebel, further destabilizing its leadership as it is already engulfed in party scandals.Downing Street is in crisis mode and this is no surprise. They wonder how their Prime Minister can survive these political blows.

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