Boris Johnson's Covid 'Plan B' passes Parliament after large Tory rebellion
The government has passed new Covid measures despite a revolt by 98 Tory MPs
New measures as part of the government's 'Plan B' will come into force in the UK, following a vote in the commons.
Regulations making wearing face masks compulsory in most indoor settings, except for pubs and restaurants, were approved by MPs. The government won that vote comfortably by 441 votes to 41.
The vote on Covid certificates was less easily won - with 369 in favour to 126 against. A Tory rebellion was expected on this measure but when it came it was larger than anticipated with 99 of Boris Johnson's own MPs voting against it.
'Plan B' is set to expire six months after implementation but will have a review after three weeks, which should fall just after New Year on Tuesday January 4.
Many MPs had objected to the idea of "vaccine passports", now passed under the legislation. Under the new proposals, over-18s will have to show that they are fully vaccinated or proof of a recent negative lateral flow test to enter a number of large venues, including nightclubs and large sporting arenas.
Indoor events with more than 500 attendees, outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and all late night dance venues open after 1am and serving alcohol will require vaccine passports.
On Monday, the prime minister's spokesman said people would have an extra incentive to get jabbed if it meant receiving a "permanent pass rather than regularly [having to] take a test."
All over-18s are now eligible for their booster jab and are being encouraged to book. The government are hoping to hit one million vaccinations a day by the end of the year.
On Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said once a "reasonable" amount of time has passed, a third dose will be required to constituent a full vaccine pass.
Nearly 80 Tory backbenchers had threatened to vote down the new measures, enough to topple Boris Johnson's working majority. Had Labour abstained or even voted against the proposals, this would have been the first defeat in the commons for an increasingly beleaguered prime minister.
Labour had promised to vote with the government on the new measures, arguing it wouldn't be right to play politics during a national health crisis. In a televised address on Monday evening, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was their "patriotic duty" to ensure the plans went through. He said: "In doing so, we are supporting the NHS and supporting our country."
On Tuesday afternoon, political journalists were reporting rumours of a potential lockdown in the New Year.
Times Redbox journalist Mhari Aurora tweeted she had spoken to a Senior Tory MP who said the chances of a lockdown after Christmas were "8 out of 10".
Other journalists claimed a New Year's lockdown was an "open secret" around parliament.
Me: “What are the chances of a lockdown after Christmas?”
Senior Tory MP: “8 out of 10”
— Mhari Aurora (@MhariAurora) December 14, 2021
A government spokesperson has said there are no plans to lockdown before Christmas but speaking yesterday, the prime minister refused to rule it out.
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