The lockdown debate: Krishnan Guru-Murthy will host Channel 4 discussion

Channel 4 will host a live TV debate on the critical issues facing the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.  

The hour-long debate, titled Live: Divided Britain: The Lockdown Debate, will see politicians, doctors, scientists and business owners discuss the impact of the Government’s decisions as we face the most intense period so far 

Chaired by the Channel 4 news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the live show, which will be filmed in Manchester in front of a carefully selected audience, will be broadcast on October 18 at 6pm.   

The broadcaster’s head of news and current affairs Louisa Compton said: ‘As the divisions of opinion across the country intensify, this important debate will give a snapshot of public opinion on these recently announced restrictions and ask what should be next for the UK.’ 

The hour-long debate, hosted by Channel 4 and chaired by the news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, will see politicians, doctors, scientists and business owner debate the critical issues facing the nation

Executive producer Ian Rumsey said: ‘This is a crucial moment for Britain and the fight against coronavirus.

‘This debate will give a real sense of what people all over the UK really feel and where they think the priorities should lie.’

Producers said the programme will comply with strict Covid filming protocols and will see a specially commissioned poll give a comprehensive view of how the country feel the Government’s response to the pandemic has been.

The show will also examine whether people believe current lockdown measures are too severe or not strict enough and how many are in favour of a so-called circuit breaker as the number of cases continue to rise. 

The debate comes as Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham this week threatened to take legal action against Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister prepared to put his city into a tier three lockdown.   

Today the Prime Minister told Mr Burnham he would impose tougher coronavirus restrictions on Greater Manchester unless the mayor backed down in his row with the Government.  

Mr Johnson told Mr Burnham that ‘time is of the essence’ as the premier addressed a press conference in Downing Street this afternoon.

The PM said he had ‘not yet reached an agreement with Greater Manchester’ on moving the area into tier three and that he understood Mr Burnham’s ‘reluctance’.

But he said the ‘situation in Greater Manchester was grave and it worsened with each passing day’ as the UK recorded another 15,650 cases – 13 per cent higher than the 13,864 recorded last Friday.

He urged Mr Burnham to ‘engage constructively’ with the Government and to do so quickly as he warned that without action ‘more people will end up in intensive care’ and more people will die.

Today Lancashire joined Liverpool as the only areas in the top tier three bracket after local leaders admitted it was ‘inevitable’ and struck a deal with ministers.

The restrictions mean all bars and pubs that do not serve meals must shut – as well as a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. 

Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace.

The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million. 

Justifying the move in Lancashire, Health Secretary Matt Hancock pointed to an ‘unrelenting rise’ in cases. 

The DoH said rates were highest for those aged 16-29 at 552 per 100,000 people.

Among the most vulnerable over-60 age group the rate stands at 214.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham threatened to take legal action against Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister prepared to put his city into a tier three lockdown

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham threatened to take legal action against Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister prepared to put his city into a tier three lockdown

This week Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson accused the Government of railroading through its tier three measures for the city.

In a message on Twitter Mr Anderson wrote: ‘We have not agreed anything, we have been told this is what Government intends to do with “no buts.”‘   

The bitter standoff with leaders in the North and the Government showed no sign of breaking today, with Northern mayors issuing a joint statement condemning the financial package available.

The statement from Mr Burnham, Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of North Tyne and Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said: ‘The Government is claiming that the North is divided and only interested in getting what we can for our own region.

‘That is simply not the case.

‘We are all united in fighting for an 80% furlough scheme for all people affected by regional lockdowns, wherever they are in the country. Paying two-thirds of salaries will not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands – it should at least match the 80% that was available under furlough, with the minimum wage as the minimum support.

‘The Universal Credit top-up is not the answer. It doesn’t help everybody and takes weeks to come through. It will not prevent severe hardship for thousands of low-paid workers before Christmas.

‘But we won’t forget the self-employed and freelancers and other business who will be affected by these lockdowns, they also need support and we stand firm for those too.

‘This is a fight for what is right.’ 

Live: Divided Britain: The Lockdown Debate will air on Channel 4 on Sunday at 6pm.