MPs voted to pass the three-tiered approach to regional restrictions last night (Tuesday 13th), despite a group of rebel Conservative MPs joined by MPs from the Labour, Lib Dems, DUP and the Green party opposing the 10pm curfew for hospitality businesses.
The government won the vote on the new tiered approach to lockdowns, including the 10pm curfew, by 299 votes to 82. However, 42 Tory MPs, 23 Labour MPs 10 Lib Dems 6DUP and loan Green MP Caroline Lucas opposed the measures in a demonstration of concerns on the effects of the new measures on hospitality businesse and the wider economy.
The Conservative vote was led by the 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady and is the largest rebellion Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced since taking office.
Conservative MP Chris Green of Bolton West and Allerton MP resigned from his role in government as a parliamentary private secretary ahead of the vote. In a resignation letter he said that the local lockdown in his area had failed, leaving businesses “on the brink of collapse”. He added: “The attempted cure is worse than the disease.”
Adding that the removal of the curfew would lessen the impact of lockdown. He said: “After two-and-a-half months of controls we must be told how and when the restrictions will be lifted. This half-alive state that we have come to inhabit cannot be allowed to become permanent.”
Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh said asked for the government to explain the science behind the curfew. He added: “We are going bankrupt as a nation. There won’t be the money to pay for the NHS or pensions.”
Several Tory MPs also expressed concerns in the Commons. Craig Mackinlay, the representative for South Thanet, said: “Just considering this great city of London, the restaurants are closed, the pubs closed, there is no takeaway available at 10 o’clock and guess what, the first train out of London, or the next Tube at 10 past 10, is going to be rocka-chocka solid, mixing and mingling with people at close proximity.”
Imran Ahmad Khan, Tory MP for Wakefield, warned the tiered restrictions would “break” his constituents. “My inbox is swamped by people imploring me to help the Government to realise that their businesses will be damned,” he said.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advised that the https://catererlicensee.com/10pm-curfew-has-only-a-marginal-effect-says-sage/
UKHospitality has warned that a lack of support for those operating in tiers one and two will mean businesses reach “the point of no return”.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “There is currently a concerning lack of support on offer for hospitality businesses in tier two, and to a lesser extent tier one, despite their facing restrictions that is seeing trade down by between 40% to 60%.
“They will have the worst of both worlds, operating under significant restrictions without the financial support on offer to tier-three businesses. Without enhanced grant support and enhanced government contributions to the Job Support Scheme, many are going to fall by the wayside.
“It is time for the government, at the very least, to rethink the mandatory 10pm curfew in those areas where Covid rates are low.”