BORIS Johnson and UK ministers have been accused of “appalling authoritarianism” after large swathes of England were placed under the toughest coronavirus restrictions.

From December 2 when the lockdown ends, tens of millions of people south of the border will be subject to a ban on indoor household mixing with severe restrictions on hospitality outlets.

Large parts of the North East, North West and the Midlands are in the most restrictive Tier 3 while London has been placed in Tier 2.

Liverpool, which had been in Tier 3 before the lockdown, will move to Tier 2 in recognition of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus. It was the city used to pilot mass testing.

Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly have been placed in the lowest Tier 1 set of restrictions.

The criteria used to judge which areas should be in which tiers included case detection rates in all age groups, the rate at which cases were rising or falling, the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken and the pressure on the NHS.

The UK Government said it would review the restrictions in a fortnight.

A political backlash took hold swiftly, setting up a confrontation at Westminster with a key Commons vote due to pass the Government’s new restrictions regime expected next week. It could be that the Prime Minister will once again have to rely on Labour votes to push through controversial social measures.

Steve Baker, the former Brexit Minister whose Buckinghamshire constituency was placed in to Tier 2, was aghast at the UK Government announcement, tweeting: “The authoritarianism at work today is truly appalling. But is it necessary and proportionate to the threat from this disease? The Government must publish their analysis.”

In a Commons statement, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary for England, told MPs: “This is on all of us” and urged the public to “dig deep”.

He said: “The less any one person passes on the disease the faster we can get this disease under control together and that is on all of us.”

The Secretary of State added: “Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go so we must all dig deep. The end is in sight, we mustn’t give up now, we must follow these new rules and make sure that our actions today will save lives in future.”

Mr Hancock was encouraged to introduce an appeal system to allow areas to challenge their Covid-19 tier.

Tory backbencher Sir Robert Syms, who represents Poole near Bournemouth, said there would be “bitter disappointment” in Dorset at the area being placed in Tier 2 given the infection rate is “falling quite rapidly”.

Former Conservative minister Jeremy Wright suggested the restrictions should be applied on smaller geographical areas such as boroughs and districts.

Meanwhile, Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said while he could see the case for his area to be in Tier 3, he will be pushing for it to go back to Tier 2 after a fortnight.

He noted: “Greater Manchester’s infection rate is reducing faster than any other part of the country but we have to accept that it is still significantly higher than the England average. That said, if the current rate of improvement continues, we will be asking the Government to move our city-region into Tier 2 in two weeks’ time.”

Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s night-time economy tsar, tweeted: “Tier 3 is yet another hammer blow for hospitality in Greater Manchester. Another day of the Governments game of carrot and stick.

“Our R rate is plummeting thanks to the public. Let’s see if they try to point-score again, as we head nearer Tier 2. We will keep fighting.”

Dan Jarvis, the Sheffield City Region Mayor, who is also the MP for Barnsley Central, declared: “Lockdown must not become limbo.”

He said: “I welcome Government plans to review our tier arrangements every two weeks, because every extra day we are under restrictions could be the difference between a business surviving the pandemic or going under.

“It is now essential we get a roadmap to get us out of Tier 3 as a matter of urgency.”

Some MPs expressed anger after Mr Hancock praised the residents of Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Suffolk for allowing their areas to remain in Tier 1.

Toby Perkins, the Labour MP for Chesterfield, said: “The suggestion by Matt Hancock that the reason that Cornwall, Isle of Wight and Suffolk are lower than rest of England is because their residents have been more responsible is deeply offensive.”

His colleague Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, tweeted: “It really is shocking & appalling that the government is passing judgements on people and local leaders.

“The vast majority of people all over country are doing their best in extremely difficult circumstances, some for much longer than others. Not helped by Gov handling.”

South of the border Tier 1 means the rule of six applies indoors and outdoors; people are urged to work from home if they can and pubs are limited to table service.

The majority of England will be in Tier 2, where the restrictions mean a ban on households mixing indoors and pubs, and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a “substantial meal”.

Tier 3 measures mean a ban on households mixing, except in limited circumstances such as parks. Bars and restaurants will be limited to takeaway or delivery services and people will be advised to avoid travelling outside their area.

Areas placed in Tier 3 from next Wednesday include:

*in the North East - Newcastle Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Sunderland and County Durham;

*in the North West - Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn;

*in Yorkshire - West and South of the county;

*in the Midlands – Birmingham, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Coventry, Derby, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire;

*in the South East - Slough and Kent and

*in the South West - Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.