KEIR Starmer has issued a direct plea to Boris Johnson for a circuit breaker regime to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The leader of the opposition said the Prime Minister "can't keep delaying" stricter lockdown rules.

It comes after minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) published today showed that scientists advised the Government to have a short, strict lockdown weeks ago.

In a televised press conference, Labour leader Mr Starmer said there must be a "two to three week circuit-break in England in line with SAGE recommendations".

He said the measures would "reverse the trend of infections and hospital admissions" but would not mean schools had to close.

He added: "All pubs, bars and restaurants would be closed for two to three weeks – but compensated so that no business loses out because of the sacrifices we all have to make. It should also mean that the UK Parliament moves to remote working.

"If we act now, if we follow the science and break this circuit we can get this virus under control.

"If we don't we could sleep walk in to a long, bleak winter. That choice is now for the Prime Minister to make, and I urge him to do so."

Addressing Mr Johnson directly, he said: "You know the scientific evidence backs this approach, you know that the restrictions you introduced won't be enough.

"You know a circuit break is needed now to get this virus under control. You can't keep delaying this and come back every few weeks with another plan that won't work.

"Act now, break the cycle. If you do, you will have the votes in the House of Commons. I can assure you of that. You don't need to balance the heat of your party against the national interest."

The Labour leader also said there was "no longer time to give this Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt" adding: "The Government’s plan simply isn’t working. Another course is needed."

MPs are to vote on the new measures announced yesterday by Boris Johnson this evening, with the restrictions coming in to force in England tomorrow.

The new three tier system will see areas categorised as medium, high or very high, with different restrictions imposed depending on which tier they fall in to.

In the medium category, no more than six people can meet anywhere and pubs and restaurants will have to close at 10pm.

In the highest category, people will be unable to mix with other households at all, and all pubs will be closed.

Alongside these restriction, there could be specific local measures introduced to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the Scottish Government was considering a similar set of plans with a tiered system, although is yet to set out exactly how this would look and what restrictions would be required in each tier.