Tory rebellion erupts over NEW lockdown rules – crunch vote today as MPs urged to 'say no'

This evening MPs will vote on whether to extend the emergency Covid powers given to the Government last spring for another six months. It will also introduce new laws including making it illegal for anyone in England to travel abroad or face a fine except in a small number of circumstances.

The Coronavirus Act was approved by the Commons last March in light of the pandemic and gave powers to Government to enforce lockdown measures.

The legislation has a shelf-life of two years but MPs must grant their consent to ints continued use every six months.

Ministers are bracing for a large backbench rebellion over the plans, with anger the emergency powers will be extended until September despite Mr Johnson’s roadmap suggesting virtually all coronavirus rules should be eradicated by the end of June.

Up to 60 Tory MPs are thought to be considering backing an amendment that would see some of the powers removed from Government, with critics arguing they are no longer necessary.

READ MORE: Covid passport: Pubs could ask customers to show proof of vaccination

Conservative MP Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory lockdown sceptics, said today’s vote was a “rare opportunity” for MPs to “say no to a new way of life in a checkpoint society”.

“I was glad to hear the Prime Minister reassure William Wragg MP at the Liaison Committee today that ‘anything that is redundant will go’ in relation to Coronavirus Act powers,” the former minister said.

“Draconian police powers under Schedule 21, which have a 100 percent unlawful prosecution record, must be considered ‘redundant to say the very least.

“I am seeking to table an amendment to the motion tomorrow asking ministers to suspend those powers.

“I now hope the Government can support it.”

There is also concern among MPs the Prime Minister may be preparing to use the powers to introduce vaccine passports for pubs in the coming months.

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Yesterday Mr Johnson told the liaison committee of MPs it could be up to landlords to decide if coronavirus certificates are required for entry.

A number of backbench Tories are thought to be concerned by the proposals with Mr Baker warning MPs not to “fall into this ghastly trap”.

He said: “The Prime Minister began to tread a dangerous path when he opened the door to domestic Covid certificates.

“First they said we’ll need them to watch the football, and today that it may be papers for the pub.

“Whether the state legislates for it, recommends it or simply allows it the result will be the same: a two-tier Britain that prevents pregnant women from taking part in society, given that the Government is telling them not to take the vaccine, or one where we turn back the clock and tolerate businesses turning away customers from communities which have shown an unfortunate hesitancy to take up the offer of a vaccine.”

Downing Street has defended plans to renew the emergency coronavirus powers for six months.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The Coronavirus Act needs a renewal vote every six months, that will mean this is the second such vote.”

While a large group of Tories are likely to vote against the measures or back an amendment, the extension of the powers will easily pass through the Commons after Labour confirmed it would support the Government in a vote.

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