There are no signs the Government regrets its decision to order lockdown amid speculation Boris Johnson feels he was misdirected by the data, MCA’s The Conversation has heard.

Kate Nicholls told the virtual event that it was the timeline of the announcement, caused by a leak of the plans, which caused chaos at the heart of government, rather than the contents of the announcement themselves.

Though noting a determination at Number 10 to end the English lockdown on 2 December, she reiterated her belief that the country would most likely re-enter some version of the tiered system.

Nicholls pointed to the Chancellor’s extension of furlough as evidence that the employees were being supported for the long haul.

When asked if she saw any wavering over the decision to order a lockdown of hospitality venues in England, Nicholls said: “I’m not getting any signals from Number 10, the political environment or the people around Government.

“They are maintaining the line that with the data they had available to them at the time, they had to make the decision and act in the way that they did.

“I think they were more blindsided by the fact that they were bounced into an early decision on this, and had to rush it out because of the leak, rather than being able to take their time.

“I think if that leak hadn’t happened, if the process had gone according to the normal timetable, we would have been coming up on 11 November for the review of restrictions, and that would have been the time at which they would have been looking to take action.”

Nicholls said while the government was keen to insist these restrictions will end on 2 December, the replacement measures could be just as restrictive.

She added: “The best-case scenario is we get some adjustments to the restrictions in the tiers and some parts of the country move out in of the tiers.

“But equally you could see parts of the country that were in tier one move into tier two.

“I’m sure the government will claim that the national restriction has ended and the legislation is removed, but in reality I think we should be buckling down for a period of restriction.

“The Chancellor’s announcements about furlough support extending until March reinforces that, it knocks out a limb from arguing that restrictions should end.”