Politics

Tory MPs threaten to rebel over Covid passports plan amid Christmas party row


Covid Recovery Group leader Mark Harper warning there is no ‘credible exit strategy’ from the new rules and that vaccine passports are ‘pointless and damaging’

Seething Tory MPs are threatening to rebel over Boris Johnson’s vaccine passports plan as new restrictions are brought in to curb rising coronavirus cases.

Around 30 backbenchers have already publicly stated their opposition to the plan, but many more are thought to be considering opposing them.

From next Wednesday Brits will need passports showing double vaccination or a negative test to enter nightclubs and big sporting events, classed as “unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people”.

They will also be needed at “any venue with more than 10,000 people” including big concerts, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people and football and rugby grounds.

As Health Secretary Sajid Javid set out the plan B measures in the Commons last night shouts of “what a load of old tripe” and “rubbish” could be heard from the Tory backbenches.

The Health Secretary insisted the Plan B restrictions were not things the Government wanted to introduce.







Covid passports will return next week under plans to hamper the Omicron variant
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When Mr Javid confirmed the introduction of Covid certification based on vaccines or tests in nightclubs and large events, Tory MP William Wragg was heard shouting “resign”.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said: “It’s deja vu all over again, isn’t it?

“Can I remind the Secretary of State that in March 2020 we were asked to impose restrictions for three weeks while the health service capacity was increased.”

Former chief whip Mark Harper said the PM’s authority has been diminished by the Owen Paterson sleaze row and the alleged Downing Street party.

He told the Commons yesterday: “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?”

According to The Guardian, the PM’s “unreserved apology” at the Commons was met with near silence as “ministers didn’t believe him” and Tories feel misled.

A former Cabinet Minister told the paper: “It was lies. We are constantly misled – and we were still in limbo about new Covid restrictions. This would never have happened under [Theresa] May and [David] Cameron.”







Former Downing Street aide Allegra Stratton filmed joking about a Christmas party last year, with other No 10 staff
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Former Tory Cabinet Minister Steve Baker said it is vital MPs vote against the Covid passport plans.

He reiterated his concerns with vaccine passports to the Mirror and expressed his hope for Labour to oppose the measures.

Mr Baker wrote a cross-party critique on the plan in the summer with Labour MP Dawn Butler, when passports were initially considered before they were slapped down.

Parliament is expected to vote on the measures next Tuesday December 14.

Among the list of plan B measures, an extension of mask wearing will return on December 10 and work-from-home guidance will return on Monday.







Health Secretary Sajid Javid sets out further Covid restrictions in the Commons
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Labour is expected to back them, making it harder for Tory rebels to succeed even if they come out in large numbers at the vote.

Shadow cabinet minister Thangham Debonnaire told BBC Newsnight: “I don’t think we should rule out anything that’s necessary to protect people.”

Despite this, senior Tory MP John Redwood said he expected a “record number” of Tories to vote against Plan B.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps opposed Plan B at Tuesday’s Cabinet, the Guardian reports.

He accused Michael Gove of wanting to “kill the whole economy”.

Tory MP for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland said “plan B makes little sense” as people have been asked to work from home but still go out with their friends to pubs and restaurants.

He said on Twitter : “I don’t believe that will last long & just softening us up for more restrictions. I don’t agree with domestic covid passports.”

Mr McPartland also expressed his frustration at the leaked footage of Allegra Stratton joking with Downing Street aides about a Christmas party held at the peak of the second wave last year.







Allegra Stratton after footage emerged of her joking about a Christmas party held during last year’s lockdown
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Red Wall Tory MP Dehenna Davison said she has “long opposed” passports and will vote against them next week.

Justifying vaccine passports with a “just in case” reasoning “simply doesn’t cut it”, she said.

The shift to the coronavirus Plan B is an attempt to “buy time” to avoid the threat of a million Omicron infections by the end of the year, Sajid Javid said as he fought back against Tory anger over the measures.







Former chief whip Mark Harper
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Fellow Tory MP Philip Hollobone said his locals are “very angry indeed” at reports of Downing Street Christmas parties during the second wave of Covid.

“The behaviour was totally inappropriate and possibly criminal”.

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