TORY Prime Minister Johnson is expected to require Labour votes to get his new tougher tier system passed by the House of Commons next week.
The cabinet met over Zoom yesterday and Johnson is to make a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon, announcing his plan for post-lockdown from Wednesday 2nd December.
With 70 Tory MPs pledged to vote against it unless the government publishes an ‘economic analysis’ of the effects of lockdown, Johnson is expected to have to rely on Labour to get it through.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday that areas are to be ‘blitzed’ with mass testing, and people will only receive ‘freedom passes’ to ‘allow them to live as normal a life as possible’ if they have two negative tests each week.
The implication is that people will not be able to live normal lives without possessing a ‘freedom pass’.
As well, the army is to be brought in to run the testing operation, although no formal announcement has yet been made by the Ministry of Defence.
Johnson is also expected to announce that the time that people have to quarantine on arrival in the UK from abroad will be cut from 14 to five days.
A tougher three-tiered system of local restrictions will come into force in England when the lockdown ends on 2 December, Downing Street has said.
More areas are set to be placed into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control.
The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is publishing research today which is expected to say that the previous restrictions were not strong enough and tougher controls are needed, while the government will announce the tiers that each area of the country will be placed into on Thursday.
Many Conservative MPs are opposed to stricter measures, with 70 signing a letter coordinated by the recently-formed Covid Recovery Group (CRG), saying they will not support a tiered approach unless they see evidence that such measures ‘will save more lives than they cost’.
Earlier this month, 32 Conservatives rebelled by voting against the current lockdown and 17 more, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, abstained.
In a letter to Johnson on Saturday, the CRG, whose numbers are now said to have reached 70 rebel Tory MPs led by former chief whip Mark Harper and ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker, warned against inflicting ‘huge health and economic costs’.
The letter said: ‘We cannot live under such a series of damaging lockdowns and apparently arbitrary restrictions, and expect our constituents to be grateful for being let out to enjoy the festive season, only to have strict restrictions imposed on them afterwards that cause them health problems and destroy their livelihood.’
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds told the BBC that her party wanted clarity from the government over how the tiers would be decided and the support available for businesses. She expressed no such concerns for the plight of the working class.
When the tiers return it is thought more areas will be placed under the tightest set of restrictions.