Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has warned Boris Johnson that his party may not back the government’s plans for a tiered system of coronavirus restrictions to replace England’s national lockdown.
Increasing pressure amid a potentially large Tory rebellion, Sir Ed wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson to say the 11 Lib Dem MPs would withhold their support unless a series of demands were met, including the government publishing the scientific evidence underpinning the plans, detailing a clearer exit strategy and providing extra financial support for pubs.
In a statement, the MP added: “As it stands, we cannot in all conscience vote for this unsafe plan. The government has failed once again to put together a plan to bring the virus under control and keep people safe.
“The new tier system is arbitrary, confused and chaotic, and the government has failed yet again to deliver the test, trace and isolate strategy to beat this virus and end this pandemic.”
Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy previously said her party’s support was “not unconditional” and that it was seeking “clarity” about the tier system.
She told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The reason that I’m not committing to vote for these measures is because we’re not convinced at the moment that they are either sufficient or workable.
“It’s not too late for the government to convince us of that, but that’s what they’ve got to do in the next 48 hours. They haven’t even published the regulations yet, let alone the economic or health impact assessments.”
Without Labour backing – and if Johnson suffers a major rebellion – the government could struggle to pass its motion on the tier system.