Why Are Some Tory MPs Opposing Plan B?

Reports of a Tory rebellion over the new Covid restrictions could mean more trouble is in store for the prime minister.
Tory MPs are rebelling against the prime minister's new measures
Tory MPs are rebelling against the prime minister's new measures

MPs will be voting on Downing Street’s new Covid strategy, ‘Plan B’, on Tuesday, and approximately 70 Tories are expected to rebel and vote against it.

Boris Johnson announced he wanted to introduce these stricter measures on December 8, explaining that it was now the “proportionate and responsible thing” to do following the surge in Omicron cases in the UK.

Yet people in his own party now want to oppose him.

Various factions of the Conservative party are known for being in favour of all forms of personal freedom and against any state intervention.

Here’s a breakdown of all the reasons they don’t want to support Plan B.

NHS Covid passes

What is it?

Downing Street wants some venues in England to only let people enter if they have a particular pass from the NHS Covid App.

This shows that someone is either double-vaccinated or has recently had a negative Covid test result.

Why are people against it?

Some people have confused this issue with the concept of vaccine passports. This measure does not require someone to have had a jab, just to have had a recent negative Covid test.

This confusion has led some people to question if a Covid pass could trigger discrimination on a medical basis, especially as not everyone has been offered the vaccine yet.

However, people just have to take a lateral flow test or a PCR test within 48 hours – and get a negative result – to receive a pass.

Compulsory face masks

What is it?

No.10 introduced a new batch of face mask rules which obliges the public to cover up their nose and mouth in crowded indoor and outdoor venues.

This includes theatres, cinemas, places of worship and hairdressers as well as public transport.

Only restaurants, pubs, bars and hospitality venues are exempt.

Why are people against it?

The Conservatives lifted the mask-wearing mandate for freedom day back in July and have since said covering the face is a personal choice even as cases soared.

When the government first re-introduced mask mandates at the end of November, former Tory minister Sir Christopher Chope described the measures as “oppressive, authoritarian and dictatorial”, arguing ministers had “no evidence whatsover” that masks were effective.

He described the regulations then as part of “a scaremongering propaganda campaign” from the government.

Sir Graham Brady who chairs the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee also said it was the beginning of “mission creep”.

Daily testing to avoid self-isolation

What is it?

To avoid repeating the so-called ‘pingdemic’ experienced in the summer – where vast numbers of employees were told to isolate by the NHS Covid App after contact with a positive Covid test – No.10 want to introduce daily testing.

Even if someone is a contact of a confirmed positive Omicron infection, they will only have to do a lateral flow test every day for seven days after their interaction of the infection person rather than isolating.

Only if the lateral flow test comes back positive will the person have to self-isolate.

However, this only applies to people are already double-vaccinated.

Why are people against it?

When the isolation rules were first brought back in (in November) former health minister Steve Brine said this change “bothers me a great deal more” than extending the use of masks as it discriminates against the unvaccinated – such as children.

Why are people against plan B in general?

While data has shown this new Covid mutation is more transmissible – and possibly triggers more mild symptoms – many believe the measures are more extreme than necessary as only one person as died from Omicron so far in the UK.

It’s important to note there is always a lag between initial infections and hospitalisations though.

Others have pointed out that the credibility of the government is now in doubt after the Owen Paterson case and allegations of Christmas parties at No.10 – raising concerns that people will not want to listen to the government.

Still, approximately 70 Tories are expected to rebel against the prime minister’s new measures, making it the biggest Conservative rebellion since Johnson secured his place in No.10 back in 2019.

However, plan B is still expected to pass into law on Tuesday because most Labour MPs have expressed their support for stricter Covid measures.


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