BORIS Johnson is threatening rebel Tory backbenchers with a THIRD lockdown if they fail to back the new Tier system.
The Prime Minister is rallying his MPs to vote in favour of the new restrictions this week in bid to quell a revolt within his party.
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On December 2, England will be divided into a three-tier system with regions classed as either medium, high or very high risk.
In Tier 3, hospitality venues will remain shut in a crippling blow to the industry.
Ahead of the crunch Commons vote on Tuesday, sceptics of the PM's plan demanded "hard evidence" that the new restrictions will save lives amid economic turmoil.
But, in order to appease critics of system, Mr Johnson has introduced the prospect of easing Tier 3 restrictions as part of a pre-Christmas review.
Yet, the PM is threatening to introduce another lockdown if his MPs do not vote to keep the Tier system until Easter.
In a letter to his MPs, he warned the "tougher tiers" are needed "if we are to keep the virus under control and avoid either overwhelming the NHS or another national lockdown which is far more damaging and restrictive than these tiers."
He also said: "These will not be easy decisions.
"With Christmas round the corner, and the difficult months of January and February ahead, we will need to continue to exercise caution."
He added "no prime minister wants to impose restrictions which cause such harm to society, the economy and people's mental health."
On Sunday, he sent another letter to around 70 Tory MPs in the Covid Recovery Group – many of whom are considering voting against the Tier system on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister urged the group to "demonstrate unity and resolve" as the end of the pandemic is tantalisingly in sight.
He wrote: "I do believe the strategy is a balanced approach, which helps protect the NHS from being overwhelmed, keeps children attending school, and lets the economy open up in a safe way, and the best way forward.
"There is every reason to believe that the worst is nearly behind us, so now more than ever is the time to demonstrate unity and resolve."
Johnson is also set to announce extra cash to pubs and restaurants in another attempt to appease the rebels.
A government source told The Telegraph: "There are already grants of £2,000 and £3,000 for businesses in Tiers 2 and 3, but we recognise that we need to do more."
Tomorrow, Number 10 will publish a document analysing the economic and social impacts of Covid-19 and the restrictions implemented to stop its spread.
The analysis will include forecasts from the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Mr Johnson is hoping the data will help curb the growing unrest within his party.
This comes as Dominic Raab warned Britain risks being hit by a third wave of Covid if the Tier system fails.
The Foreign Secretary said “we need to get the balance right” but could not rule out a third national lockdown if the tougher tiers do not work, adding: “We’re doing all we can to avoid that.”
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