Boris Johnson could face Tory revolt in vote on extending Covid restrictions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a media briefing in Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a media briefing in Downing Street - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson faces the prospect of a Tory rebellion when MPs are asked to approve the extension of coronavirus restrictions in England until July 19.

The House of Commons will vote on Wednesday evening on the four-week delay to the end of lockdown measures, aimed at buying more time for the vaccine programme.

Labour has signalled it will back the extension so the prime minister should be spared a defeat, but Conservative lockdown-sceptics are likely to express their anger during a debate.

Scientific advisers have said the delay is necessary to prevent a fresh spike in hospital admissions due to the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.

Senior cabinet minister Michael Gove has said it would take something “unprecedented and remarkable” for restrictions to be extended any further than July 19.

But in a sign that cabinet ministers have concerns about the extension, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told his ConservativeHome podcast: “You can’t run society just to stop the hospitals being full, otherwise you’d never let us get in our cars and drive anywhere or do any of the other things that people want to do, so there has to be some proportionality.”

International trade secretary Liz Truss told Sky News: “Jacob has his views and those are his views.

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“But what I’m telling you is the reason we are doing this, the reason we are taking these measures is to protect lives, and that’s what’s important.”

Johnson will face Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions, but it will be health secretary Matt Hancock who will open the debate on extending the restrictions.

Delays are also expected to hit Scotland after first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the mainland’s move to the lowest level of restrictions will “likely” be delayed by three weeks.

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