Keir Starmer accused of 'playing politics' after he orders Labour to ABSTAIN in ...

No10 accuses Keir Starmer of 'playing politics' in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic after he orders Labour MPs to ABSTAIN on crucial Tiers vote tonight in order to quell his own backbench mutiny and show up division in the Tory ranks Labour will abstain in Commons vote on whether to adopt new three-tier system  It means the Government is almost certain to win, despite hefty Tory rebellion Also allows Sir Kier to placate his own backbenchers refusing to back scheme  No10: 'Keir Starmer is playing politics in the middle of a global pandemic'

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline

Published: 10:11 GMT, 1 December 2020 | Updated: 10:11 GMT, 1 December 2020

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Sir Keir Starmer was accused of 'playing politics' in the middle of the pandemic after he ordered his MPs to sit out a crucial vote tonight on the rules that will replace lockdown.  

Labour will abstain on the Commons vote on whether to adopt the stiffened three-tier system wanted by the Government, a move that will expose Tory fault-lines on the divisive issue.

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But the move, revealed late last night, will also allow Sir Keir to quieten a rebellion on his own backbenches.

Some MPs from Northern areas that will be placed in the strictest Tier 3 were furious that the party originally indicated it would vote with the Government.

The abstention means that the Government is almost certain to win the vote, despite a hefty Tory rebellion over the economic threat they believe the tiers pose.

The PM has failed to quell rising fury on his own benches about the draconian restrictions, which will leave 99 per cent of England under the toughest two levels from tomorrow.

After Sir Kier's announcement, a No10 spokesman said: 'This pandemic is one of the biggest challenges facing the country in decades and Labour have decided to abstain on it.

'While Keir Starmer claims he offers new leadership, it's clear to all that he actually offers no leadership at all.

'Keir Starmer is playing politics in the middle of a global pandemic instead of working with the Government to find a way through this difficult time for the British people.'

Sir Keir Starmer (pictured today) was accused of 'playing politics' in the middle of the pandemic after he ordered his MPs to sit out a crucial vote tonight on the rules that will replace lockdown

Sir Keir Starmer (pictured today) was accused of 'playing politics' in the middle of the pandemic after he ordered his MPs to sit out a crucial vote tonight on the rules that will replace lockdown

As many as 100 Tory MPs have been considering defying Boris Johnson (pictured today) in a crunch vote this evening

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As many as 100 Tory MPs have been considering defying Boris Johnson (pictured today)

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