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All Schools Might Be Closed Again As London Plunges Into Tier 3 Lockdown Following COVID-19 Cases Surge

Sadiq Khan has called for all London to be closed from Monday in defiance of the government's vow to keep them open, and despite warnings that shutting down the capital will deliver another economic hammer blow to Britain. 

Mr Khan's demand follows a unilateral announcement by the Labour leader of Greenwich council that he would close all schools in his borough tomorrow - leaving parents dashing to find four days of child care before the term ends on Thursday. 

The move puts Greenwich on a collision course with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson who warned that schools who do not stay open face legal action by the government - and it will also fuel teaching unions who argue that schools should be shut across the country. 

It adds to fears that a decision on Wednesday to plunge London into Tier 3 restrictions looks 'inevitable' despite reports Health Secretary Matt Hancock was considering splitting the capital to impose tough restrictions on outer boroughs with high infection rates while keeping the West End open.   

But Khan also called that move impractical and a morning briefing today between MPs from London and its surrounding areas will address the city's infection rate, which puts it ahead of regions such as the West Midlands, which are already in Tier 3.

Mr Khan's spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: 'The mayor is backing the early closure of schools and would like the Government to consider shutting schools from Tuesday. He wants Monday to be the last day at school.'  

London's infection rate per 100,000 people stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week. A source said London being thrust into the Government's highest tier of lockdown rules is 'inevitable'.

Tier 3 rules would see all bars, pubs, and restaurants close. Hotels would also have to shut under top-tier rules - but may be able to reopen between December 23 and 27 when families are able to form a 'bubble' with two other households.  

MPs are urging the Prime Minister to spare the capital because shutting it down would hurt not just Londoners, but 'people across the nation' who depend on the 'wealth and prosperity generated by our great city'.

A decision on whether to plunge London into the highest lockdown before Christmas was going to the wire this weekend, with a row brewing with Ministers after police and local councils objected to plans to divide London into different tiers.

With the capital's businesses saying tier 3 would deliver a £3 billion hit to the economy, Ministers including Michael Gove have suggested that only the outer London boroughs with the highest infection rates should go in to the top tier.

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