HOSPITALITY businesses face “ruin” and thousands could lose their jobs unless the government steps in to help the industry, a Hampshire MP has warned.

Comments by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty had put the country into “effective lockdown”, Winchester MP Steve Brine said.

He spoke after Professor Whitty, appearing next to Boris Johnson at a Downing Street news conference, urged people: “Don’t mix with people you don’t have to.”

Prof Whitty said people should “prioritise” the social events that mattered to them.

Mr Brine said the adviser's answers to a question from the BBC “changed government policy and put this country, certainly hospitality – and Winchester’s hospitality bears that out in what I’m hearing – into effective lockdown”.

He said to the minister: “So can I ask, yes or no, is what Professor Whitty said last night now the policy of this government, that we should socialise carefully?

“What in practical legal terms does that mean? And on support, because advisers are now running the show – I’ll bet none of them run businesses facing complete ruin as the result of what was said last night – the Treasury is going to have to do more because otherwise we risk ruining and wasting the amazing support that Her Majesty’s Treasury gave last year.”

He added: “We’re going to have to do more or we’re going to face ruin and thousands of people are going to lose their jobs.”

The chancellor, who is currently in California, held online one-to-one meetings with representatives of the hospitality industry on Thursday afternoon.

Treasury minister John Glen replied: ’I’ve been very clear we should get boosted, encourage our constituents to get boosted, take the lateral flow test, wear masks and engage in normal activity as far as we can.

“Of course there won’t be a legal definition of what every individual should do on an individual basis. Most people would use common sense and that’s really important.

“But I do recognise the core point he’s making that the sector will need engagement from govt and that’s why ministers, not advisers, will be engaging with that sector this afternoon.”

Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venues Trust, told Sky News: "Venues are really suffering, audiences aren’t turning up, there’s a financial crisis coming. What are we doing about this?

"I’m very pleased to see Steve Brine MP raising this in the House of Commons today. This isn’t economically viable. Something has to happen. Government has to step in. It needs to happen really, really fast.”

Rishi Sunak announced later that he would be cutting short his California trip.

“This government has done whatever it takes at every stage to support lives and livelihoods throughout this pandemic – and of course we will continue to do so," he said.

“We understand that this is a concerning time for businesses. Myself and my wider team met with business representatives earlier today, listened to their concerns and will continue to work with industry leaders over the coming days.

“To keep safeguarding our economic recovery and the lives and livelihoods of the British people our priority is now to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get boosted now.”