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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Those revolting Tories

Although there is undoubtedly unease and some serious concern on the Tory backbenches about the double standards and hypocrisy of their own government in holding parties while the rest of us were locked down for public health reasons, the biggest revolt appears to centred on a much more fundamental disagreement.

The Times reports that Boris Johnson faced a furious backlash from Conservative MPs, with William Wragg, chairman of the public administration committee, accusing him of imposing new restrictions as a tactic to divert attention from a furore over last year’s Downing Street Christmas party:

Mark Harper, head of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, said that the government’s credibility had been “seriously damaged”, adding that vaccine passports were “pointless and damaging” and that working from home “will batter sectors of the economy that are just getting back on their feet”.

Johnson denied that the announcement was designed to “coincide with events in politics”, asking how people would react if he had delayed for political reasons. “You’ve got to act to protect public health when you’ve got the clear evidence,” he said. The prime minister argued that the measures were “proportionate and responsible”.

The Prime Minister's problem of course is that he no longer has any credibility to impose new restrictions, but more than that there are a significant number in his own party whose apparent disregard for public health means they refuse to wear masks in the House of Commons and are opposed to sensible precautions designed to keep people safe.

It would have been difficult enough to contain these Tory sceptics in normal circumstances, but with his own rule-breaking now out in the public domain, Boris Johnson is fighting a losing battle.

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