Boris Johnson will outline a new three-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions on Monday that is expected to cause pubs and restaurants to shut across the north of England.
The new curbs on personal freedoms come as another person with links to the Conservative Party has landed a huge contract for PPE without having to compete with other organisations.
Mr Johnson will reveal the full details of the much-anticipated approach in a statement to the House of Commons, following criticism of the Government for not keeping MPs properly informed of changes.
The news comes after the Prime Minister’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister wrote to northern MPs following a meeting with leaders from the North on Friday to warn them it was “very likely” the region would be hit with tougher rules.
Workers in pubs, restaurants and other businesses which are forced to close under the new restrictions will have two thirds of their wages paid by the Government in a new financial scheme announced by the Chancellor earlier on Friday.
Earlier this week that a former business associate of Conservative peer Baroness Mone was given a £122m contract to supply PPE shortly after launching a company.
Also a firm co-owned by a Conservative donor that supplied beauty products was handed a £65m contract to provide face masks to the NHS.
Now a company run by a Tory councillor has been handed a £156 million contract to import PPE without any tendering process.
Steve Dechan, a Tory councillor in Stroud, signed the contract in May despite having suffered financial losses in 2019, openDemocracy reported.
He stood down from the council in August, however he has previously made headlines when P14 Medical was given a contract worth nearly £120m to supply face shields to the UK Government.
Transparency International’s Steve Goodrich told openDemocracy when this “happens again and again it reeks of cronyism”.
He went on: “Continuing to award major public contracts without competitive tender fuels the perception that political patronage matters more than suitability for the job. In order to ensure best value for money is being secured, the Government should return to open, competitive tendering in all but the most exceptional cases.”
Dechan previously told the BBC that P14 is an “expert company that has been in medical supplies for eight years including PPE”.
He added: “I only know a couple MPs through local campaigning on issues, only met ministers (no current ones) on [General Election] campaign trails. Never discussed PPE.
“We are so proud that we stood up and unlike many got it done and protected our customers.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE to protect our health and social care staff on the frontline throughout this global pandemic.
“Proper due diligence is carried out for all government contracts and we take these checks extremely seriously.”
Related – Handing £122m PPE contract to Tory peer associate is the “definition of corruption” – MP says