Daily Mail

Boris bruised by Tory revolt over ‘hellish’ corona curbs

As 32 MPs vote against measures...

- By Harriet Line Chief Political Correspond­ent

TORY MPs were yesterday in revolt at the return of selfisolat­ion rules, fearing Britain could have another ‘pingdemic’ before Christmas.

One of them warned that the curbs could lead on a ‘downward path to hell’, as thousands could be told to stay away from workplaces, schools and families.

Thirty-two backbenche­rs rebelled against fresh regulation­s which will force all contacts of ‘suspected Omicron cases’ to selfisolat­e for ten days, even if they are fully vaccinated.

In a heated Commons debate, MPs voiced fears that the rules could bring the country grinding to a halt – and questioned how health officials would define contacts.

Conservati­ve former chief whip Mark Harper asked why ministers would review face coverings in December, but have not set out an expiry date for the self-isolation rule.

He said that meant the regulation ‘will run all the way until the main statutory instrument expires on March 24, 2022’.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup insisted that the Government ‘will not continue to have these regulation­s in place for any longer than is necessary’.

But Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenche­rs, warned against ‘mission creep’.

He said the Government’s ‘immediate assumption’ is to reach for ‘new controls, new compulsion, new rules that will be inflicted on the British people’.

‘We need to move back to a world where we trust people,’ he added. Former minister Steve Baker suggested the Government was overreacti­ng to the Omicron variant and ‘choosing that downward path towards, frankly, hell’.

‘The hell of minute management of our lives by edict, with nothing we can do about it.’

Sir Desmond Swayne said the rule change ‘fundamenta­lly undermines’ the effort to increase vaccinatio­n rates by removing the exemption for vaccinated people to isolate.

‘You’re removing the principle incentive to get vaccinated,’ he said. Steve Brine, a former public health minister, warned a fresh pingdemic could ‘devastate education again’.

But last night Boris Johnson sought to play down the likelihood of hundreds of thousands being told to self-isolate.

He said: ‘On the risks of going back to where we were in July, the so-called pingdemic, I don’t think that is likely to happen.’

MPs approved the regulation­s linked to self-isolation requiremen­ts by 431 votes to 36, a 395 majority, in a retrospect­ive vote.

Self-isolation rules wreaked havoc for families and businesses in the summer as hundreds of thousands of people a week were ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app.

‘Devastate education’

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