THE North-East and the Tees Valley must be mightily relieved that, for the moment at least, they have avoided Tier 3 restrictions, with their leaders claiming that Tier 2 is “stabilising” or “flattening” the statistics.

The Government has to listen to regional leaders otherwise it was pointless giving them a voice.

But it adds to the feeling that the country – our United Kingdom – is pulling itself a part. Scotland is doing one thing, Northern Ireland another, while Wales wants to shut its borders to keep the English out. We’ve got two types of Tier 3; the mayor of Manchester has been belligerently standing off, Lancashire councils feel bullied while scientists call for tougher measures.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson spent the day talking tough about Europe. Brexit is a terrible distraction right now – the bluster will blow over as the deadline for a deal really nears.

The most serious problem is within our own shores. Track and trace, which has just had its worst week, has to work; there has to be clarity about the criteria for going in and out of the different tiers, and Rishi Sunak has to rework his support package.

Above all, we need unity. We need one clarion voice. We need a true wartime leader. Mr Johnson must step up.