NORTH East leaders have been warned of fresh discussions over a potential move into Tier 3 following a late night summons from Government.

It is understood that leaders in the region were told by central Government that a meeting will shortly be called to discuss Tier 3 restrictions, and the potential move from Tier 2.

The email, which was sent at around 10pm on Thursday night, stated that ministers were keen for this meeting to happen as soon as possible.

It comes as Greater Manchester’s Tier 3 restrictions come into force and has left leaders in the region unsure of what any further meeting could entail.

Last week the region was allowed to remain in Tier 2 but leaders were told they had seven days to show existing measures were working.

Leaders were due to report back to Government this morning but it is not thought that this is the meeting the late night demand was referring to.

This marks the latest twist in a lockdown saga for the region, after leaders of Northumberland, Newcastle, South and North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham councils came together to fight the restrictions.

Last week they signed joint statements pointing to a declining rate of infection in the region  and  urging the Government to not impose “devastating” coronavirus restrictions.

As recently as Wednesday the indications were that the region would remain in Tier 2.

Conservative MPs for Bishop Auckland and North West Durham, Dehenna Davison and Ric Holden, met Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the Covid-19 situation across County Durham and the wider region and were confident rates of infection were stabalising enough that Tier 3 did 'no longer feel imminent'.

New cases of coronavirus have slowed in the region with Newcastle reporting 313.1 cases per 100,000 in the seven days up to October 18, down from 466.6 the previous week.

In County Durham cases fell from 338.1 to 329.2, in North Tyneside they fell from 251.5 to 210.7, in South Tyneside they fell from 245.1 to 235.1.

But in Sunderland cases rose to 321.9 from 299.2, in Gateshead cases were up from 255.4 to 258.8, In Northumberland cases remained at 175.5.