FURIOUS Tory MPs today mauled Boris Johnson as he prepared to announce a “completely unjustifiable” delay to Freedom Day.
The PM is facing an angry Conservative revolt over plans to slam the brakes on his roadmap, which he is expected to confirm at a somber press conference tonight.
Mutinous backbenchers railed against the potential month-long setback and branded it “idiotic”.
Rising infections of the super Delta variant are thought to have spooked ministers into pressing pause on June 21 until more people have been double jabbed.
But MPs are up in arms that millions of summer plans will be sent up in smoke – and fear a delay will roll the pitch for endless restrictions into the winter.
Backbencher Philip Davies told HOAR: “It’s completely unjustifiable and it seems the Government has been captured by Sage and PHE, who are basically all bunch of socialists.
“If people had wanted to be run by socialists they’d have voted for Jeremy Corbyn at the last election.”
He added that any delay was “idiotic” and urged the PM to “find his Conservative instincts”.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: “My biggest fear at the moment is the more we delay the less likely we are to get out of this. We’ve got ourselves into a spiral of fear.”
He warned that scientists would pounce on any delay to call for another lockdown in the winter.
Tory MP Peter Bone said a delay to the lifting of restrictions should not happen “without really good reason” and that currently he “can’t see the evidence why we should be postponing our freedom”.
Steve Baker, deputy chair of the lockdown-sceptic CRG group, called on the rebels to rally like POW inmates in the Great Escape.
He told colleagues: “It is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.”
But even if the around 40 hawkish Tory MPs rebel their numbers will be wiped out by Sir Keir Starmer’s troops.
Mr Davies fumed that it has fallen to Tory backbenchers to provide the only opposition to lockdown.
Step Four of the PM’s roadmap ends all legal restrictions on social contact.
Each step has so far gone ahead on time and only recently has the data looked bleak because of the Indian variant.
Health Minister Edward Argar this morning defended the Government from criticism it dithered in putting India on the Red List.
He said the UK had one of the strongest border policies in the world – but admitted it was “possible” acting earlier would have staved off the strain.
He was confident that two vaccine doses provided protection against the mutation