Boris Johnson has been accused of imposing tougher restrictions on London in order to fend off a 'north versus south' row as Manchester appeared set to join Liverpool as a top tier lockdown area. The Prime Minister was on Thursday facing a major backlash from London Conservative MPs after ministers confirmed that the capital would be placed under tier two restrictions from Friday at midnight. Essex is also expected to follow shortly afterwards. It means that more than nine million people will be banned from meeting friends and family outside of their household indoors, including in pubs and restaurants. The decision has fuelled claims that ministers are attempting to placate local leaders in the north of England, who are resisting calls for their areas to be put in tier three, the most severe level of restrictions. Other MPs believe that the growing number of areas being placed under tighter lockdown measures will effectively lead to another 'national lockdown by stealth.' It comes amid growing expectation among ministers that Mr Johnson will be forced to announce regional 'circuit breakers' by the end of the month to slow the rapid increase in covid-19 cases. While Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for a national circuit break lasting between two and three weeks, Government sources have suggested that a series of regional lockdowns are more likely. Click here to read full news..