A handful of Tory MPs have defied public opinion and their own party to vote against Boris Johnson’s lockdown plans.
The prime minister’s bill sailed through the Commons by 516 to 39 in a vote on Wednesday evening.
Under the legislation, non-essential shops will be forced to close and social gatherings and non-essential travel banned from Thursday until December 2 in a bid to stop the NHS being overstretched over the winter.
Even though the prime minister was set to win the vote after many in the Tory Party and Labour promised to back it, Johnson still faced a revolt from his own benches.
A total of 34 Tory MPs (including two tellers – or, vote-counters as they are known) voted against the plan warning of the devastating impact it would have on the economy, public health, and civil liberties.
Even former Conservative prime minister Theresa May questioned Johnson’s strategy in a damning speech in the Commons.
She said: “It appears the decision to go towards this lockdown was partly, mainly, to some extent based on the prediction of 4,000 deaths a day.
“Yet, if you look at the trajectory showing in that graph that went to 4,000 deaths a day, we would have reached 1,000 deaths a day by the end of October.
“The average in the last week of October was 259, by my calculations. Each of those deaths is a sadness and our thoughts are with the families, but it’s not 1,000 deaths a day.
“So the prediction was wrong before it was even used.”
The vote occurred the same day NHS England moved to its highest alert level amid a continuing rise of coronavirus patients needing hospital care.
Below is a list of all 34 Tory MPs and four DUP MPs and an independent who voted against the government.
Steve Baker (Teller)
Iain Duncan Smith
Philip Hollobone (Teller)
Anne Marie Morris
DUP MPs included Paul Girvan, Carla Lockhart, Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson – and suspended Tory Julian Lewis.
A further 97 MPs were either absent for the vote – which can include sickness or injury – or deliberately abstained.
More than a third of those were nationalists, including the SNP and Plaid Cymru, to whom the England-only law doesn’t apply.