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Boris Johnson set to publish economic impact papers over lockdown to attempt to assure Tory MPs

Boris Johnson (centre) in the House of Commons with Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson is set to publish economic impact papers related to the coronavirus lockdown in a bid to attempt to assure Tory MPs.

The prime minister will publish an impact assessment of the restrictions ahead of a crunch Commons vote on Tuesday in an attempt to win over would-be rebels.

Scores of Tory MPs have spoken out against the new system in England, which the government wants to bring into force on Wednesday when the national lockdown ends.

But despite offering them another chance to vote on the restrictions early next year – meaning the measures could lapse on February 3 – several said they still have reservations.

Labour is not expected to oppose the measures, meaning Johnson should get them through parliament, but being forced to rely on decisions being made by Sir Keir Starmer will be uncomfortable for the prime minister.

Environment secretary George Eustice told Sky News that chief whip Mark Spencer would be trying to win round Tory MPs ahead of the vote.

“I’ve seen suggestions that there could be up to 100 or so people that have got concerns,” Eustice said.

That meant “it will depend on what the Labour Party choose to do” but during a “national emergency” it would not be right to “play political games”.

Conservative MP Peter Bone said he was “undecided” and would make his mind up after seeing the impact assessment.

 “The dilemma I have is do we do more damage by the tiered system of lockdown, or do we do less,” he told the PA News Agency.

Another senior Tory backbencher said that his vote was “still in the balance” as he urged Johnson to provide analysis of how the tier restrictions will affect businesses, saying he did not have confidence that the government was really considering their needs.

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