BORIS Johnson faces a major Tory rebellion over his new lockdown rules as his own MPs blasted him for pursuing “the wrong strategy”.
MPs must approve the ongoing Covid measures in a Commons vote next week as the six-month powers granted under the Coronavirus Act expire.
But dozens of Tories are threatening to vote for an amendment that would force the Government to give MPs a veto over all future Covid measures.
The rebels – organised by powerful Tory backbencher Sir Graham Brady – are understood to have the backing of Labour and are confident they have the numbers of defeating the Government.
One of the MPs organising the rebellion said: “If it comes to a vote, I think we’ll win it.”
Former Cabinet minister David Davis said the PM’s latest measures had convinced him and several other Tories to back the rebellion.
He said: “They have absolutely persuaded me that I am supporting Graham Brady’s vote next week because whilst I can see an argument for detailed control the countries that have been most successful have been ones that have done very localised control.
“Germany, for example, will lockdown a single block of flats or a single factory and a dormitory associated with it and that really works because they police it incredibly tightly.
“But if you try to lockdown vast areas such as all of Greater Manchester or all the North East of England it’s much more difficult to make it work.”
Mr Davis added: “I’m definitely supporting Brady’s amendment now because we must get this right in detail – not just right in press conferences but right in detail.
That means Parliament must approve everything before it happens and means we must be very, very specific about what we’re doing to get the most effect with the minimum economical damage which tends to be very localised action.”
Tory grandee Sir Desmond Swayne told HOAR he will vote against the Government’s motion to extend their coronavirus powers altogether.
He said: “I’m dismayed. I think this is the wrong strategy, I think what we do by imposing these restrictions – if they work – all they do is kick the can down the road and then the virus reignites again and then we have more restrictions at infinitum.
“Until there’s a vaccine, which there might never be, or we get to the stage of moonshot where we can test ourselves every day and if we’re negative we go about our normal business ordinarily.
“I do think we have to recognise that we have a seasonal disease. Like flu, it is going to have its season and we have to manage the risks and try to live a normal life. It is, after all, only the 24th largest killer in the UK.”
Another Tory MP said: “I’m depressed, it’s not good.
“Opening pubs before gyms looks now looks really stupid, telling people to ‘get back to work and get down the boozer’ now looks really dumb.
“We need a three-year plan because this could last at least a year. “We need proper research into what is the least course of action now because we know we’re going to have tens of thousands of deaths from cancer and heart disease because the NHS is shut down for months.
“Covid is bad, nobody is denying it, you don’t have to be a Covid denier, but 1 per cent of people die of COVID but 100 per cent people die of cancer.unless it’s defeated
“Covid worries me and concerns me but the drop in cancer referrals by 75 per cent scares the hell out of me.”
Senior Tory MP Richard Drax blasted the new restrictions and warned they will do “undue harm” to Britain’s economy.
He told HOAR: It’s going to cause a lot of harm to an awful lot of people in this country.
“Like all these viruses – even if we get a vaccine for it like flu for example – it doesn’t guarantee you won’t get flu and I have a nasty feeling that this virus will be with us for many years to come. and it’s going to guarantee even if we get a vaccine that we’re going to solve it.
My own view is what we are diong is causing undue harm to our economy and not only that of course, but to people’s healths, livelihoods, jobs and I’m getting desperate people from my constituents – people are going under.
“I just think we have to brave this out, i know it’s going to be a very brave decision for the PM to make but I can see no reason with Test and Trace and putting all our resources aimed at those who are vulnerable to this and let the rest of us get on with our lives.”
“Towns and city centres are dead – no one’s there, all the shops have gone, jobs have gone. At the end of the day we are human beings and we need to socialise – that’s who we are.
“The six person rule – It’s extraordinary that we can all go to work, all go to the pub – albeit out by 10 – but we can’t see our grandparents and our families – it doesn’t’ make sense to me.”