The government faces a potential rebellion from some of its own MPs opposed to the system which starts on December 2, but Mr Gove said MPs need to “take responsibility” for tough decisions.
Some MPs argue the tiers are too broad and have demanded a more localised system. The chairman of the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, is among critics of the restrict ions, accusing the Government of infringing people’s “fundamental human rights”.
But writing in The Times, Mr Gove said the new system was needed to slow the spread of the virus which otherwise could leave hospitals “physically overwhelmed”.
He wrote: “The tiers we had in place before the lockdown had not suppressed [Covid] sufficiently: they were neither strong enough to reduce social contact sufficiently, nor applied widely enough to contain the virus’s spread”.