Chief medical officer Chris Whitty was been accused of using misleading data to justify the expected shutdown of the North of England.

The CMO briefed 149 MPs with unpublished data, seeking to make the case that pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are a key source of virus transmission.

The early analysis only shows a “small number of settings” which the government is prepared to restrict, and so does not include workplaces and educational settings, due to their “significant and long-term benefits to society”.

The subset of data appears to show hospitality settings account for 24% of common exposure for customers and staff in pubs and restaurants, rising to 30% in the under 30s.

It contrasts with visits to friends and relatives’ homes, which accounts for 2.6% worth of infections.

NHS Test and Trace figures show a huge 75.3% of transmissions take place at home, with only 5.5% happening in pubs, restaurants and churches.

Derived from a very small sample size, the subset relies on contact tracing figures referring to just 98 pubs and 67 cafes and restaurants.

Meanwhile Public Health England acknowledged that it could not prove where the virus was caught, with each reported case referring to two separate coronavirus-positive patients who had been in the same venue within the past week.

MPs described the report as a “dodgy dossier” and said the data had been “cobbled together” to justify the pub closures.

A Conservative MP told The Telegraph: “It was very clear to everyone on the call that they had cobbled together this data as a retrospective attempt to justify closing pubs.

“No-one could make any sense of how these figures were put together. If they are so convinced they are right, they should publish them so everyone can see them.”