Whitehall leak inquiry has been launched after details of Government proposals to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions next week were reported by newspapers.
Boris Johnson will now hold a national press conference at 5pm on Saturday, thought to be brought forward after the leaks of new measures were briefed to papers last night.
Other papers – including The Daily Mail and The Sun – also reported that Boris Johnson was preparing to introduce a national lockdown next week.
It is understood that Downing Street has now launched an investigation to find the source of the story, amid reports that the Government had wanted to keep the plan quiet until Monday.
Number 10 is yet to officially confirm the inquiry into the leaks.
Boris Johnson is reportedly furious after his plans to lockdown were briefed to journalists ahead of an official announcement.
Politico editor Alex Wickham tweeted: “Told Boris Johnson is furious that details of the imminent lockdown were leaked from yesterday’s meeting to Sky/Times/Mail, and has ordered a leak inquiry.
“No10 insist they didn’t brief it and that whoever is responsible has damaged trust in the middle of a public health crisis.”
Number 10 are yet to confirm whether new national lockdown measures will be imposed despite widespread reports on the front pages this morning.
Backbenchers have told Sky News that they are ‘fuming’ after finding out about potential new Lockdown measures from the media rather than Cabinet.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticised the move as coming too late and for lasting too long.
He tweeted: “I called for a nationwide circuit breaker more than two weeks ago.
“Scientific experts now think a longer lockdown may be necessary to get the virus under control.
“Government delay has cost both lives and livelihoods. We must act now to protect both.”
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said she will take into account any developments over the border in England.
She tweeted: “Prevalence of the virus is currently lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK and there are early signs that the tough restrictions in place since we moved quickly in late September have started to slow the rate of increase.
“We will base decisions on circumstances here – though what happens just across our border is clearly not irrelevant to our considerations.
“People should not travel to or from level 3 areas in Scotland and for now, we are asking people not to travel to or from England at all, except for essential purposes.”
An emergency 30 minute cabinet meeting is reportedly being held after lunchtime today ahead of the press conference at 4pm.
Additional reporting from PA.