Rishi Sunak hints hated 10pm pub curfew will end December 2

People drinking outside a bar in Soho, London, ahead of the 10pm curfew (Image: PA)

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Rishi Sunak has given the strongest suggestion yet that it is last orders for the 10pm pub curfew when Boris Johnson unveils the next stage of lockdown tomorrow.

The Chancellor said that the Government will review the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants – which was in place before national restrictions were reintroduced.

He told the BBC’S Andrew Marr: “It’s definitely something that we’re looking at and I think, as I said, one of the things that we’ve been able to do as we’ve learned is get data, see what works and see where we can improve things.

“I think it’s probably fair to say when we introduced the curfew, that was something that was in common with many other countries and cities around the world.

“As we’ve learnt more, there’s opportunities for us to look and refine things, and that is one of the things on our list.”

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The Government's  “Covid winter plan” – expected to be unveiled tomorrow – will reportedly ease the restrictions on pubs, toughen measures for those with the highest number of cases when we leave the second national lockdown place more areas into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control to ensure further restrictions are not needed.

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The Prime Minister is expected to say that, while last orders must be called at 10pm, people will get an extra hour to finish their food and drinks with opening hours to be extended until 11pm.

But SAGE scientist Professor Calum Semple warned that “fiddling” with drinking-up times or pubs’ closing times was not an effective mechanism.

When asked if changing closing times would make a difference, he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “History has got a lot to teach us, in the years of prohibition they tried to change the hours, they tried to say you could only drink if you had a meal and everyone is very inventive and finds ways around it.

“Fiddling at the edges of something like drinking-up times or pubs’ closing times is simply not an effective mechanism.

“With pubs and clubs you have to look at the whole human behaviour and take human behaviour into account, and I think that’s what was missing when this first came in.

“I think whatever iteration you see next will be better informed by understanding human behaviour and not driving us into unintended consequence that can increase transmission such as closing pubs early and everyone coming out into the streets at once.”

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