Boris Johnson announces move to 'Plan B' for Covid restrictions
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New Covid measures unveiled last night have left Conservatives furious. In a bitter blow, the Prime Minister backtracked ion his pledge earlier this year for an “irreversible roadmap out of lockdown” as he reimposed a series of tough restrictions.
His winter Plan B sees the compulsory face masks in all indoor settings except hospitality, the reintroduction of work for home guidance, and the implementation of jab passports to access mass events such as nightclubs and sport events.
The vaccine certification scheme requires MPs to pass fresh legislation giving their consent to the plans.
Mr Johnson faces the humiliation situation of relying on votes from the Opposition to get his plan through Parliament with dozens of Tories refusing to give their backing to the plan.
Tory backbenchers jeered Health Secretary Sajid Javid as he updated the Commons on the proposals last night, with several shouting at him to “resign” over the matter.
At a televised press conference held simultaneously, the Prime Minister pleaded with the public to understand the “vital importance” of the measures.
Many Tories have argued the Government will struggle to get the public to comply with the rules after allegations of an illegal Christmas party in Downing Street last year.
Worse, some even believe the new rules have been introduced as a “diversionary tactic” to counteract the backlash over the party.
The anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group of Conservative MPs is thought to have seen its membership grow in the past 24 hours as an increasing number of backbenchers turn their back on the Prime Minister.
Chair of the group, Mark Harper, said last night: “The Government’s own analysis leaked in late October showed that Plan B would cost the economy between £11billion and £18billion in the period up until March 2022 — more than £800million per week.
“The events of the past few weeks – from the Paterson case to the Christmas party video – have seriously damaged the credibility of those at the very top.
“Why should people listen to the Prime Minister’s instructions to follow the rules when people inside Number 10 Downing Street don’t do so?”
Conservative MP Marcus Fysh described the new measures as “really draconian” and an “utter disgrace”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that vaccine passports are “such a massive imposition on our liberties” and a “massive attack” on personal freedom.
He said: “Of course I’ll vote against it. Everybody should vote against it. This is a fundamental thing about what sort of society we want to live in.
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“It’s a disgrace that they’re pursuing that, utter disgrace.”
Tory MP Ben Bradley ruled out voting for Plan B which includes “discriminatory” vaccine passports, and former minister David Davis questioned “how are you going to prosecute people who don’t obey it given the four previous parties?”
“I think the real issue is on the authority of the Government to enforce a, as it were, a new lockdown because people look at this and say why should we? It’s them and us again,” Mr Davis told ITV’s Peston.
Another MP told Express.co.uk they believed Mr Johnson’s behaviour risked leading to his downfall.
They said: “Six months ago I thought he could go, on and on and on like Thatcher.
“Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t make it through next year.”
Mr Johnson last suffered a major rebellion in December 2020 when he introduced the tiers system for England.
On that occasion, 55 Conservatives voted against the plan, while a future 16 abstained.
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