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Tory MPs who do not agree with the new coronavirus measures will meet today to discuss their plan. It recently emerged that dozens of Tory MPs are now prepared to vote against the measure.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s scepticism around the new restriction, as well as Labour’s refusal to back it until scientific evidence of its efficacy is provided have reinforced the group’s intention to stand against the stringent rule.
Tensions within the Conservative Party mounted on Monday when Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted that almost 16,000 positive coronavirus diagnosis going missing “should never have happened”.
Ministers in the Commons are expected to request MPs’ authorisation on lockdown restrictions wishing weeks of their introduction.
In the next 48 hours voting will take place to decide whether the “rule of six” as well as the 10pm curfew in England remain in force.
Last week, MPs won the right to vote on national coronavirus lockdowns rather than the Government imposing restrictions on executive orders that can only be scrutinised weeks after they come into force.
Speaking to The Telegraph at the time of the decision, one of the Tory rebels said: “Peace has come!
“This is a significant day for parliamentary control over the Government.
“This is how our system is supposed to work.”
On Monday rebels claimed that they could rack up the necessary 43 Tory MPs to vote with Labour to revoke the Government’s 85 working majority.
One Tory MP said: “My sense is that a material number of MPs might vote against the 10pm.”
Another added: “If it transpires that Labour is going to oppose it, then I would think there would be enough of us who would be inclined to vote against it.”
Steve Baker, who last week acted as an unofficial whip for rebel Conservatives, said: “Very few members of Parliament have constituencies which will bear voting against every infringement of liberty.
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“However, there is a growing consensus that neither the 10pm curfew, nor including children in the ‘rule of six’, are well evidenced.
“I expect quite a few members of Parliament to take issue on those two points.”
Sir Desmond Swayne, a senior Tory MP, said: “The 10pm curfew is a huge mistake.
“The virus can’t tell the time. It is just absurd to impose this across the country.”
On Monday, Mr Sunak said of the 10pm curfew: “Everyone is very frustrated and exhausted and tired about all of this.”
Speaking to The Telegraph on Monday night, Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “The Government needs to produce public health evidence for this measure, because what we see at the moment are pictures of people leaving pubs at the same time, crowding onto trains, buses and trams, sometimes even crowding into supermarkets to stock up on extra drinks.
“How does it contain the spread of the virus?”
A source close to the Labour whips’ office said: “We have been clear that we support the Government on their measures.
“But we have not seen them and have not made a hard and fast decision.
“Jonathan has raised people’s interest when he said the Government needs to set out what is the scientific basis and what is the medical advice, and they have not done that.”
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