Covid: Plan B restrictions approved by MPs but Boris Johnson faces huge Tory rebellion

MPs have voted in favour of implementing the government’s Plan B restrictions amid surging Covid cases

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The UK Government’s Plan B restrictions have been approved by MPs during a vote in the House of Commons.

MPs took part in four separate votes in the Common this evening (Tuesday 14 December), having their say on issues such as the expansion of face coverings to more venues, the requirement of a Covid Pass in certain venues, both of which were approved.

MPs also voted on the requirement for NHS staff to be fully-vaccinated, which was also approved.

Despite the measure being passed through the vote, Boris Johnson faced a huge backlash from Tory MPs, with the vote marking the largest rebellion since his leadership began.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • MPs took to the House of Commons this evening to vote on the implementation of the UK Government’s Plan B coronavirus restrictions
  • Separate votes took place on the re-introduction of face masks in more venues, the requirement of a Covid Pass to enter certain venues and the requirement for NHS staff to be fully-vaccinated to continue to work in the service
  • A resounding majority was achieved with the face mask NHS vaccine requirement motion, however the Covid Pass motion proved contentious with Tory MPs, many of whom signalled their intention to rebel against the party prior to the vote
  • Fears were laid bare for the Prime Minister after 126 MPs voted against the introduction of a Covid Pass, with almost 100 of those being Tory MPs
  • The result marks Mr Johnson’s largest rebellion of his leadership so far

How did MPs vote?

The extension of venues requiring the use of face masks was voted through by 441 to 41 votes, with a majority of 400.

The motion to require NHS staff to be vaccinated by April 2022 to continue working in the service was approved by a majority of 285.

The requirement of a Covid Pass in venues such as nightclubs and larger venues such as stadiums had been a controversial topic, with some Tory MPs stating that they would be either abstaining or rebelling against the vote.

However, this was passed with 369 vote for the motion and 126 against, with a majority of 243.

It is believed that 99 votes against came form Conservative MPs and a further two coming from two tellers, marking the Prime Minister’s largest rebellion so far.

Rebellion a ‘cry of pain’ from Conservatives

The shocking rebellion has caused Mr Johnson a headache, with party whips scrambling until the last minute to sway the decision of the rebels to no avail.

The rebellion comes amid a mix of controversies for the Conservatives, including a question mark over the public’s trust in Boris Johnson as a leader following allegations that illegal Christmas parties had been held in Downing Street last year.

Sir Charles Walker, vice-chairman of the backbench 1922 committee said that the sizable rebellion was a “cry of pain” from Tory MPs.

He said: “This was just a bridge too far. I think they were putting a marker down. It was a cry of pain from the Conservative Party.

“He is in a very, very, very difficult position. There has been a strong view in within the Conservative Party that vaccine passports do not work and is not something many colleagues wanted to see introduced.

“This is a very, very specific line being drawn in the sand now and I think the Prime Minister and his team need to listen.”

Speaking to Sky News, Sir Geoffrey also said that he expected the Prime Minister to face a leadership challenge in the new year, adding: “I think now the Prime Minister’s really got to think very carefully about how he’s going to reset his performance, to actually govern with a united party because we will know what happens to disunited parties.”

“He’s got to realise that he’s got to consult his party properly before bringing these sorts of measures to the Commons.”

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