Nigel Farage in damning warning to Boris ahead of PMQs showdown after ‘dreadful mistake’

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The Brexit Party leader claimed the Prime Minister looks “somewhat beaten down” lately as he warned the Conservative leader will have to regain credibility after he got his own coronavirus rules wrong on Tuesday. Speaking to TalkRADIO, Nigel Farage said: “Boris has always been good at this, when he was Mayor of London he was good at this.

“But he looks somewhat beaten down.

“That was, yesterday, that was a dreadful mistake to make.

“And he’s going to work damn hard to get back credibility as a leader.

“And he’s got to go in there at PMQs at midday today and he’s got to be absolutely on top of his brief.”

The Prime Minister will face Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer later on Wednesday after he was forced to apologise for failing to clarify the new local lockdown measures for large parts of the North East on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson said he “misspoke” when he was asked to explain the new rules, which were announced on Monday and will come into effect from midnight.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner claimed Mr Johnson did not understand the new regulations, set to put a ban on households mixing in private and also social settings, in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham.

When asked by reporters to clarify whether people could meet in a pub garden, an issue one of his ministers admitted she did not know, Mr Johnson said: “In the North East and other areas where extra-tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities but it is six in a home, six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside.”

Mr Johnson later tweeted: “Apologies, I misspoke today. In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socialising with other households outside.

“This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities.”

Ms Rayner had earlier said: “For the Prime Minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent.

“These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country tonight.

“The Government needs to get a grip.”

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Tory MP Steve Baker said Boris Johnson having to apologise for mis-speaking when trying to explain the new regulations on households in the North East of England was an example of the confusion the lack of debate was causing.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it was a vivid illustration of the problems you have when a hundred Acts of Parliament are used to put in place 247, I think it is, pieces of delegated legislation … which are subject to repeated amendment and revocation.

“When you get such a large and shifting body of law, you find even ministers and the Prime Minister cannot keep up with it.

“What possible hope can the public have? I had one minister say to me yesterday, with terror in his eyes about the disease, we might have to change the law every 24 hours.

“We can’t possibly expect 70 million people to keep up with law that changes every 24 hours – this would be chaos and ruin.”

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