Row erupts as Priti Patel grilled over why UK public ‘not trusted to do the right thing’

Julia Hartley-Brewer clashes with Priti Patel on Christmas guidance

Home Secretary Priti Patel insisted that the Government does trust the British public in a heated row with talkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer as she questioned why Britons are not allowed to make their own decisions. Ms Hartley-Brewer asked: “You and Boris Johnson are basically saying you trust the British people to do the right thing on Christmas Day and over the five days of Christmas that start next Wednesday.

“What I’m confused about is why you don’t trust the British people to do the right thing the rest of the time?

“Why do we have laws who people can see in their homes and why do we not trust people to make their own decisions to keep themselves and their loved ones the rest of the time?”

Ms Patel answered: “I think we do and we have.”

The host interjected: “But you don’t because you’ve got laws telling people what they can and can’t do.

“A law isn’t guidance. Banning people from seeing another household is not guidance, it’s the law.”

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Ms Patel continued: “I think when it comes to coronavirus and scenes from around the world…”

But Ms Hartley-Brewer cut her off again while she blasted her answer as “irrelevant”.

The radio host added: “I don’t care what Belgium does, I don’t care what China does, I care what the British Government does.”

The Cabinet minister insisted the Government has “done the right thing” with the laws put in place this Christmas.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to only make minor changes to the tiering allocations for coronavirus restrictions ahead of the Christmas easing of measures.

Mr Hancock will update MPs on Thursday morning after the picture worsened for Wales as it emerged 11,000 positive tests had been missed.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said there is a “clear case” for his region to go down to Tier 2.

But he said he fears ministers will “overcompensate” because of the decision to allow the Christmas easing of restrictions to go ahead despite warnings it will lead to a spike in infections and deaths.

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Ms Patel told Sky News that ministers have to be “very, very conscientious” over changes to the tiering and described the assessments of the situation as “sobering”.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen was calling for his North West Leicestershire constituency to be “decoupled” from the city of Leicester so it can be moved down into Tier 2.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If hope (for my constituents) is lost I worry that the discipline that has seen us through so far will disappear and then it’s going to be a disaster.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the Government had made a clear “mistake” over Christmas in easing the law to allow three households to come together between December 23 and 27.

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