PM facing open revolt from Tory backbenchers over new lockdown restrictions

Coronavirus Boris Johnson
The Canary

Boris Johnson is facing open revolt from some Tory backbenchers over new lockdown restrictions, with one former minister declaring:

It is time for us to actually start living like a free people, not subjecting ourselves to constantly shifting legal requirements.

It comes as coronavirus rates continued to increase across parts of the UK with Leeds and Birmingham among areas at risk of further lockdown measures.

Revolting

Ministers are allegedly divided over new social distancing rules in England that will limit social gatherings to groups of just six people both indoors and outside from Monday.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that senior Tories want younger children to be exempt from the so-called “rule of six” in England. The Daily Mail claimed health secretary Matt Hancock was the only cabinet minister on Boris Johnson’s coronavirus strategy committee to support the plan at a meeting on Tuesday, the day before it was announced by the prime minister.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson is facing rebellion from some of his backbenchers (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Speaking on Friday, former Tory minister Steve Baker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

I think it is now time to say that this is not a fit legal environment for the British people…

And it is time for us to actually start living like a free people, not subjecting ourselves to constantly shifting legal requirements, which I think now no-one can fully understand

Baker added:

It seems to me the effect of having Covid marshals will be to turn every public space in Britain into the equivalent of going through airport security where we are badgered and directed… I’m not willing to live like this.

His comments come as the most recent data for the seven days to September 7 showed Birmingham had the second highest rate of new cases in the country at 85.4 per 100,000 people and 975 new cases while Leeds had 536 new cases and a rate of 67.6.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Scrutiny is needed

Since the government enacted its coronavirus legislation, it has been able to pass additional measures without proper scrutiny. In June, the Telegraph reported that 90 such laws had been passed without going through parliament.

Big Brother Watch is monitoring the new legislation. It stated that:

Emergency measures are needed to protect public health. However, they must be proportionate, lawful and strictly temporary way, to protect our democracy in the long run.

Since the pandemic began, the UK has been under ministerial rule. Draconian powers have been seized, democratic processes have been evaded, and our most basic liberties have been suspended. Protecting public health doesn’t require this new authoritarian political order.

And as The Canary previously reported, there is a contradiction between pubs and schools remaining open, but banning more than six people meeting. Kevin Blowe, coordinator of the Network for Police Monitoring stated:

The new rules are intended to crack down on unlicensed music events, not least because people (especially from Black and working class communities) enjoying themselves has historically been seen as a public order threat. It doesn’t matter to the government that pubs are just as likely to spread infection.

Other options

Several countries have managed to maintain freedoms by using track and trace systems. The UK has struggled to get a similar system up and running with the Engineer referring to the lack of a contact tracing app as a “spectacular failure” in August.

Writing about issues in the UK, professor Calum Paton stated in August:

The next step [after failing to quarantine flights from corona hotspots] therefore had to be ‘track and trace’ the virus from the outset. But any competent executive would have known already that the UK’s capacity to test and trace had been decimated. A Cabinet Office report in 2015, Exercise Cygnus, set out the extent of government spending cuts in health protection and how warnings about lack of preparedness for control of pandemics had been buried (Cabinet Office, 2015). So speedy initial action on flights and quarantine had been all the more necessary. Worse, when the creation of a viable new test and trace policy became vital, the UK government’s new test and trace scheme took months to develop. It was heralded as ‘world-beating’, but, as the New York Times noticed, the British government was better at self-congratulation than delivery

However, even though there is now a track and trace system in place, it is still beset by problems. The Guardian reported on 3 September that:

The latest figures from the NHS test-and-trace programme showed that 80% of people who tested positive in England in the week to 26 August were contacted by tracing teams and asked to self-isolate. But almost a third (30.6%) of their contacts – the people with whom they had been mixing prior to the test – went unreached.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. PM facing open revolt from Tory backbenchers over
      new lockdown restrictions.

      Just this to says here Tory Govt members in London,
      Boris + Hancock + SAGA staff the new lock-down in the
      Midlands areas proves my point the Virus is AIRBORNE
      And before long London will have to be in lock-down like
      The rest of us in Lancashire & surrounding area of London.
      So, Boris/Hancock /SAGA staff My question again I asked
      all you in Govt by email that NONE of you have replied to
      Yet -why.
      //
      Question –Why is London not in lock-down now as all the protester
      Have been spreading the Virus all over London you lot should be in lock-down NOW -Boris (like rest of our country but is Not why?)
      //
      Are you not in lock-down just to pleases your rich party funder that live & work in London area so they can move around unimpeded?
      by any lock-down rules in place in London yes or no? Hancock/
      SAGA/Boris you cannot use the lock-down rules for political gain for Tory Party only if Virus is running a mock in London area test the London residents /plus Govt members in H.O. Commons No,10 No,11 areas and lock-them down now.
      //
      Therefore, Mr. Hancock or Boris go live on T.V. today and explain to me as a voter plus resident of U.K. why am in lock-down and your area of London is Not that has a bigger Virus problem than my area Boris.
      In-addition please supply the true figure of infection all over London areas –Hancock/Boris you both are quick to plaster the figure all over on T.V. of over areas of U.K. number but Not London infection rates why??
      Again, are you using the lock -down rule as a political tool, means,
      to keep your rich party funder happy in London areas ONLY.
      yes or no?
      LOOK-Hancock/Boris/Saga staff /plus Tory Govt members.
      If the rest of U.K. is in to be lock-downed So should London areas as well Boris/Hancock /SAGA staff after all NONE of you can say that people in London area Do Not have the Virus as it (AIRBORNE ) also Boris himself as had it already, and is a carrier & spreader of the Virus now within No,10-No,11-plus H.O.Commons including all Meeting he attends without a Mask on in Govt/parliament a fact.
      //
      Tory party members if you wish the full support of us residents of all areas of U.K. on lock-down rules you need to explain fully and truly now has to us why London is not in any lock-down now?
      Is it Virus free yes or no? No more one rule for rest of U.K. and one rule RICHER for London areas over the lock-down of our country Boris.(Tell us the public + voters the truth for once Boris please.

      1. new add on to my first post
        PM facing open revolt from Tory backbenchers over
        new lockdown restrictions.

        Just this to says here Tory Govt members in London,
        Boris + Hancock + SAGA staff the new lock-down in the
        Midlands areas proves my point the Virus is AIRBORNE
        And before long London will have to be in lock-down like
        The rest of us in Lancashire & surrounding area of London.
        So, Boris/Hancock /SAGA staff My question again I asked
        all you in Govt by email that NONE of you have replied to
        Yet -why.
        //
        Question –Why is London not in lock-down now as all the protester
        Have been spreading the Virus all over London you lot should
        be in lock-down NOW -Boris (like rest of our country but is Not why?)
        //
        Are you not in lock-down just to pleases your rich party funder that live & work in London area? so they can move around unimpeded? by any lock-down rules in place in London yes or no? Hancock/ SAGA/Boris you cannot use the lock-down rules for political gain for Tory Party only if Virus is running a mock in London area test the London residents /plus Govt members in H.O. Commons No,10 No,11 areas and lock-them down now.
        //
        Therefore, Mr. Hancock or Boris go live on T.V. today and explain to me as a voter plus resident of U.K. why am in lock-down and your area of London is Not that has a bigger Virus problem than my area Boris.
        In-addition please supply the true figure of infection all over London areas –Hancock/Boris you both are quick to plaster the figure all over on T.V. of over areas of U.K. numbers but Not London infection rates why?? -Again, are you possibly or could be or maybe using the lock -down rule as a political tool, means, only to keep your rich party funder happy in London areas ONLY. yes or no? Tory party members.
        LOOK-Hancock/Boris/Saga staff /plus Tory Govt members.
        If the rest of U.K. is in to be lock-downed So should London areas as well Boris/Hancock /SAGA staff after all NONE of you can say that people in London area Do Not have the Virus as it (AIRBORNE ) also Boris himself as had it already, and is a carrier and possibly spreader of the Virus now within No,10-No,11-plus H.O.Commons including all Meeting he attends without a Mask on in Govt/parliament a fact.
        //
        Tory party members if you wish the full support of us residents of all areas of U.K. on lock-down rules you need to explain fully and truly now has to us why London is not in any lock-down now? Is it Virus free yes or no? No more one rule for rest of U.K. and one rule RICHER for London areas over the lock-down of our country Boris. Tell us the public + voters the truth for once Boris please.

    2. Wherever lockdowns have to be imposed is down to the stupidity, selfishness and general blasé attitude of British people’s not strictly attending to their civic responsibility of mask wearing, gatherings of people number quotas and other adherences to Covid hygiene. Just heard on LBC Radio a caller into Mat Fry’s Saturday morning show saying he doesn’t wear a mask – and in so many words said “why should we all adhere to these Covid rules to protect old people who are more vulnerable who are at the end of their lives anyway”. Mat Fry, a renowned former BBC correspondent who’s now moved as an independent reporter to commercial radio, didn’t bat an eyelid at that caller to his shows stupefying ‘Nazi sentiment’.

      1. You seem to have missed the fact that the virus figures are going up again. Granted , the emergency powers are only any good if most people comply. You also seem to imply that the video states that only a minority of people will be affected, and that is ok. In the US and Brazil, two cothis untries that ,US certainly via Chump said ‘it was only flu’ and wasn’t a problem. Prefacing that with ‘it didn’t exist. The pseudo religeous fanatic in Brazil said that ‘god would protect them’. That all went well then. You can’t use empirical data from a different virus, 80 years ago. I am not a scientist, ( my cousin is), Had action not been taken, the death toll likely would hav e been much higher. The restrictions are a serious breach of our civil liberties, but hopefully not for much longer. Don’t forget that virus also mutate, so those ‘ok’ now may not be in the future. Also, if you believe that the virus ‘only attacks and is fatal in ill people’ has also been shown to be false. Posting a graph does not negate data ‘ on the ground’.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.