United Kingdom

Tory MPs urge Boris Johnson to be 'smart' and give them a vote on lockdown rules

Tory MPs today urged Boris Johnson to be 'smart' and give into their demands for Parliament to be given a vote on new lockdown rules as the PM was told 'controlling the lives of 65 million people by fiat is not sustainable'. 

Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, has tabled an amendment which would require a vote to be held on any new restrictions 'as soon as reasonably practicable'.

Sir Graham has the backing of at least 40 of his fellow Tory MPs with the rebels hoping the amendment will be put to a vote next Wednesday. 

However, they are urging the Government to back down before that point and to accept that MPs should be given a say on whether new rules should be imposed.

It comes amid growing Tory anger at Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance after the Government's two top scientists set out a doomsday scenario at the start of the week of the UK facing 50,000 new daily cases of coronavirus by mid-October unless drastic action was taken. 

The Telegraph reported that some Tory MPs have now nicknamed the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser 'Witless and Unbalanced', accusing them of 'scaremongering'.         

Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure from Tory MPs to grant Parliament a vote on any new lockdown measures

Mischievous Tory MPs are said to have nicknamed Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance 'Witless and Unbalanced' after they suggested the UK could face 50,000 daily coronavirus cases by mid-October

There is increasing concern among Tory MPs about the way in which the Government is handling the coronavirus crisis. 

Sir Graham has previously accused Mr Johnson of 'ruling by decree' by imposing restrictions on daily life without asking Parliament for permission.

His amendment is designed to grant MPs a vote on any new measures and with more than 40 Tories backing the move the Government could be in danger of having its working majority of 85 overturned. 

The rebels want the plans to be voted on next Wednesday when the Government asks Parliament to renew its coronavirus powers for another six months.     

However, there are major questions over whether Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will select the amendment amid claims it would not be legally binding on ministers.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to give in on the issue before a potentially damaging vote could be held. 

Signatories to Sir Graham's plans include Tory former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former Brexit secretary David Davis. Opposition MPs have also signalled their support for the move. 

Mr Davis told The Telegraph: 'The smart sense is for the Government to give Brady and all of us what we are after. 

'It is a very unwise Conservative government that lets rebellion led by any chairman of the 1922 Committee go the distance.'

Sir Graham said he hoped the level of support for his plans will persuade Sir Lindsay to allow a vote on the amendment to take place.        

Senior Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, today urged the Government to 'enter this conversation' on the plans in order to avoid a rebellion. 

Senior Tory Tom Tugendhat said 'making emergency decisions for people and effectively controlling the lives of 65 million people by fiat is not sustainable' 

He told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: 'You can give various blanket permissions in emergency ways but that doesn't mean you don't have to come and ask for permission as soon as is practical.

'The Government needs to enter this conversation and let's see where this conversation goes because what we've seen in the last six months, when we voted in the Coronavirus Act about six months ago, nobody expected it to last this long.

'It's quite clear that there's at least another six months of it as the Government has announced and it may indeed be longer than that depending on whether a vaccine comes or not, so the idea that we can have a permanent state where the Government is making emergency decisions for people and effectively controlling the lives of 65 million people by fiat is not sustainable.'

A Number 10 spokesman said: 'We understand MPs and their constituents will be concerned about coronavirus, that is why we continue to work closely with MPs to ensure they are able to hold the Government to account.' 

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