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Tory Revolt: Conservative MPs Castigate Prime Minister Johnson Over New National Lockdown

© REUTERS / Toby MelvilleBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, Britain October 12, 2020
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, Britain October 12, 2020 - Sputnik International
On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would go into a four-week national lockdown from Thursday to prevent the National Health Service from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 infections.

Wednesday is expected to see a Tory revolt in the House of Commons as Parliament is set to vote on a new national lockdown unveiled by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday, the Daily Mail reports. 

Former Tory Whip Robert Syms and ex-Cabinet minister Desmond Swayne have already accused Johnson of allowing himself to be "bounced" into a new national lockdown before giving regional restrictions time to work.

In an interview with Times Radio, Syms claimed that the government had not properly accessed progress pertaining to the three-tier system to tackle the COVID-19 infections, while Swayne slammed the new lockdown as "disastrous", accusing Cabinet ministers of behaving like "headless chickens".

The two did not mince words when describing Johnson as a prime minister who is on "borrowed time" and "totally inept", adding that the fresh lockdown "could be his Suez".

In this context, the Daily Mail cited an unnamed source as accusing the government of "a deliberate destruction of the Tory Party".

"People only vote for us because they think we don't care, but are competent. Lose the competence and we're f****d. We've lost the competence. And we are f****d", the source added.

Conservative rebel ringleader Steve Baker, for his part, urged "all members of the public" and MPs "to listen extremely carefully to what the prime minister says today and over the coming days". 

That was not the case with lockdown sceptic Sir Graham Brady, Tory shop steward and chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of backbenchers, who preferred to keep mum on Johnson's new lockdown announcement.

Committee Vice Chairman Sir Charles Walker, in turn, depicted a grim picture of the lockdown fallout in England, which he warned "won't have a first world economy anymore" in spring.

"We won't be able to pay pensions, employ people, raise taxes, fund armies, fund police forces. Our hospitality industry will be finished. This is utterly catastrophic", Walker told the BBC.

Cabinet Minister Gove Says New Lockdown May Be Extended

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has, meanwhile, said in an interview with Sky News that the month-long lockdown could be extended beyond 2 December if necessary.

The Tory frontbencher also moved to uphold the government's delay in reimposing the lockdown, which he said was needed now because the "situation has been worse than any of us expected", threatening to overwhelm the National Health Service (NHS).

The remarks echoed those by Prime Minister Johnson who said on Saturday that there was "no alternative" to a second lockdown and that "no responsible prime minister" could ignore the increasing spike in COVID-19 infections across England. He underscored that the goal of the new lockdown is to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases.

A person wearing a mask walks past the Bank of England in London, Britain, March 23, 2020 - Sputnik International
No Confidence: UK Economy Braces for Massive Economic Slowdown Amid Spike in COVID-19 Cases - Report
Most businesses including non-essential shops, pubs, and restaurants - except for take-aways - will close until the start of December, but schools and universities will stay open, and work on construction sites can continue. Premier League football matches will still be played, Johnson explained.

The PM originally planned to unveil new measures in response to a spike in cases on Monday but was forced to bring the press conference forward after the plans were leaked to the media on Friday.

This caused flak from Tory MPs, with Johnson extending his apologises and pledging a probe into the issue to find the "culprit" who leaked the lockdown details before their announcement.

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