The Government face its largest backbench rebellion since the Conservatives won the 2019 general election, with roughly 70 Tory MPs expected to vote against the Government’s new ‘Plan B’ restrictions intended to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. These new measures include imposing mask mandates on most indoor settings, compulsory vaccination for NHS staff by April 2022, as well as requiring the use of the Covid pass in order to enter certain public venues. Despite this backbench backlash, Labour has pledged to support the Government, which will ensure that ‘Plan B’ passes the House of Commons. BBC News has more.
Around 70 Conservatives are expected to vote against plans to introduce mandatory Covid passes to enter large venues such as nightclubs.
The PM calls them a sensible response to rising Omicron cases – but the plan has sparked civil liberties concerns.
The measure is still likely to pass, as Labour plans to vote for them.
It would mean that from Wednesday, people will have to prove they are fully vaccinated or have a negative lateral flow test to enter large venues.
In a series of votes in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon, MPs will also vote on: a new regulation making it compulsory to wear a face covering in most indoor settings, except for pubs and restaurants. A measure allowing fully-vaccinated people who have been exposed to a positive Covid case to avoid self-isolation if they take daily lateral flow tests, and receive a negative result, as well as making it compulsory for frontline NHS and social care staff to be fully vaccinated from April 2022.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told the BBC he hoped the measures would mean “we go into this Christmas in a very different position to last year” and “people can feel reassured” about the their festive plans.
He added that the new Covid passes were not “an unreasonable thing” to ask of people to enter large venues, adding: “I would do it voluntarily.”
The Covid pass measure has proved controversial on the government’s own benches, with one Conservative MP, Marcus Fysh, telling the BBC it was “the thin end of an authoritarian wedge”.
Another Conservative, Andrea Leadsom, said one of her constituents was now “now less afraid of Covid than she is of intrusive and incoherent Government regulations”.
Johnson sought to reassure his colleagues, describing the measures as “balanced and proportionate”, but added there was “no room for complacency”.
The BBC estimates around 70 Conservative MPs are expected to vote against the introduction of Covid passes, which would be the biggest backbench rebellion against the prime minister since he won a Commons majority at the 2019 election.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: The campaign group Together has warned that this your last chance to contact your MP before the pivotal vote today (the MP directory can be found here), and has provided a form (here) asking how your MP voted, and what reasons they gave for doing so.