Fury over the Government’s new tier restrictions has sparked a stunning revolt among Tory backbenchers. Around 70 Conservative backbenchers are planning to rebel against the new measures, forcing Boris Johnson to rely on Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party for votes. The new measures, which will be enforced after the national lockdown ends, will see more than 55 million people will be placed into Tier 2 and Tier 3 measures.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs and one of the rebels, told BBC Newsnight that the Government has made it “harder” to push the measures through Parliament.
Nicholas Watt, Political Editor of BBC Newsnight, said: “A growing rebellion for the Prime Minister, and he may have to rely on Labour votes to prevail.
“One Tory MP who is well disposed to Boris Johnson told me, this could be our Black Wednesday, the moment people look back and say, ‘we got it wrong’.”
Sir Graham told the programme: “I suspect that the Government would have had a much easier time if we hadn’t seen this strange decision to force almost the whole of the country into Tiers 2 or 3.”
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He added: “Even Tier 2 is going to be immensely damaging for a lot of businesses and limit people’s freedom to meet their family and friends’ and Tier 3 is even worse, of course.
“By forcing so much of the country into those really tough restrictions, especially places where the rates of infection have been falling to much lower levels, I think the Government has given itself a much harder job.”
Earlier this morning, on Sky News, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick admitted there was no Plan B if the new restrictions were defeated in the Commons next week.
Boris Johnson has an 80-strong majority in the Commons, but if only 40 of his own MPs rebel, the Prime Minister will be forced to rely on support from Labour.
Tom Tugendhat, a senior Tory backbencher, said: “We went into lockdown at Tier 1 and came out at Tier 3. This isn’t working for us.”
Tory MP Steve Baker, deputy chair of the CRG, called the announcement “truly appalling”.
Harriet Baldwin, also a member of the CRG, said there was “is no logic whatsoever in having a month of lockdown only for people to have to live under an even more severe set of restrictions afterwards”.
Former Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said he was “puzzled” as to why his city of Bournemouth was going into Tier 2, saying it would “cause further hardship for our hospitality industry”.