Lockdown Tory rebellion: What happens if MPs vote against tiers? | UK | News (Reports)

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MPs are due to vote on the new tiers on Tuesday – which will place almost half of England’s population under the most severe Tier 3 restrictions. Some 23.3 million people will be under the harshest Tier 3 restrictions – around 41.5 percent of England’s population.

All but three areas of England will enter tiers 2 and 3 on Wednesday – the exceptions being Cornwall, the Isle of Wight, and the Isles of Scilly.

The announcement last Thursday has sparked anger among backbenchers, with MPs calling for a more nuanced approach to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Senior Tories have expressed opposition to the plans, including the 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady who said he wanted to see people “treated as adults” and trusted with their own health decisions.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions: “I find so many people have been engaged in a wholly responsible way in trying to make sure they can continue some kind of family life, some kind of social life, but being safe, being responsible throughout.

“Especially the older people, who are typically more vulnerable to Covid-19, are also the people who are likely to be most responsible.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to MPs in a bid to stave off a backbench rebellion after considerable anger at the new restrictions from within his own party.

Mr Johnson wrote to MPs in the Covid Research Group, a collection of Tories who are sceptical of how new restrictions will work, urging them to back the vote in the House of Commons.

The PM wrote that he hopes “you recognise that the government is seeking as far as possible to listen to criticism and respond positively to constructive proposals”.

He added the country is currently experiencing “difficult times” but the “worst is nearly behind us”.

Mr Johnson acknowledged on Friday that people felt “frustrated”, particularly in areas with low infection rates which now face tighter restrictions than prior to the lockdown.

He said: “The difficulty is that if you did it any other way, first of all you’d divide the country up into loads and loads of very complicated sub-divisions – there has got to be some simplicity and clarity in the way we do this.

“The second problem is that, alas, our experience is that, when a high incidence area is quite close to a low incidence area, unless you beat the problem in the high incidence area, the low incidence area, I’m afraid, starts to catch up.”

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Such a rebellion would be a significant blow to Mr Johnson’s authority, even if the measures were passed with the help of Labour MPs.

If MPs vote against the tiers, it will be back to the drawing board for the Prime Minister – with any other plans currently unclear.

Labour is expected to back the plans.

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