WITH around 100 rebel Tory MPs expected to vote against the new three tier lockdown system in the House of Commons tomorrow, the government is relying on Labour to get it through.
Shadow cabinet minister Lisa Nandy claimed yesterday that: ‘Our support is not unconditional,’ but went on to make clear that the Starmer leadership will be whipping MPs either to vote with the Tories or abstain, certainly not to vote against.
It was revealed yesterday that Prime Minister Johnson, in an attempt to placate the Tory rebels, had written individual letters to all Tory MPs over the weekend, saying that that rules could be reviewed again and eased in mid-December, that MPs could vote again in January, and the tier system has a ‘sunset’ clause, ending them on 3rd February.
Writing separately in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday, Johnson claimed that he believes Easter will mark a ‘real chance to return to something like life as normal’.
Tory rebels are confident that they could demolish Johnson’s majority of 80 on Tuesday when the House of Commons votes on the proposed three tiers of restrictions in England.
That would make Johnson reliant on Labour votes to get his measures through.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy would not confirm which way Labour would vote, but made it clear that it will not be whipping to vote against the Tories to bring the Johnson government down.
She said: ‘We don’t share the view of those Tory backbenchers that you can just let this virus rip through the population with the damage that would do, but we want clarity from the government on two things – first of all is this sufficient to get control of the virus? We are meeting the chief medical officer tomorrow afternoon to discuss that.
‘And secondly, whether people will actually be able to comply with this. At the moment only 11% of people who are asked to self-isolate through the NHS app are actually able to do so, many of them not eligible for one-off payments to help them do that.’
Marr said: ‘It sounds as if you are leaning towards voting with the government, but you want more economic help as the price for that. If you don’t get that will you still vote with the government?’
She replied: ‘Our support is not unconditional. We will act in the national interest.’
Marr said: ‘I’m sorry to labour this, but if you don’t get those assurances, will you try and vote this down or not?’
Nandy replied: ‘Well, it’s not too late for the government to come forward with those assurances.’
She went on: ‘The reason I’m not committing to vote for these measures is because we’re not convinced at the moment either that they are sufficient or workable. It’s not too late for the government to convince us of that, but that’s what they’ve got to do in the next 48-hours.’