Covid: MPs vote to back four-week England lockdown

November 04, 2020


MPs have backed a four-week lockdown in England to combat coronavirus, which will kick in at midnight.

Boris Johnson saw off a rebellion by 34 Tory MPs opposed to the move, with the support of Labour.

The government won the vote by 516 to 39, a majority of 477.

The prime minister told MPs a second lockdown was needed to "contain the surge" in Covid cases - but rebels warned it would wreck businesses and lives.

The Tory rebels included former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 committee of backbenchers.

It comes as the government said a further 492 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. This brings the UK total to 47,742.

The number of deaths reported on Wednesday is the highest daily figure since 19 May, when 500 deaths were reported.

The lockdown in England includes the closure of pubs, gyms and non-essential shops.

It will replace the three tiers of regional restrictions across England for four weeks, until 2 December, when ministers hope to return to a regional approach.

'Failed strategy'

During a three-hour debate, Conservative rebels - and several Labour MPs from the north-west of England - said England's tiered system, brought in two weeks ago, had not been given a chance.

Mr Johnson's predecessor as prime minister, Theresa May said: "The evidence is, from Liverpool, that cases are falling."

Mrs May was among 19 Conservatives to abstain, including six MPs from Scottish seats, who did not want to take part in the vote as it applied to England only.

She criticised Labour's call for a short, "circuit breaker" lockdown as impractical - but accused Mr Johnson of choosing data to fit his coronavirus policies.

The lockdown decision was "to some extent based on the prediction of 4,000 deaths a day," said the former PM, but that figure had already been proved "wrong".

"For many people it looks as if the figures are chosen to support the policy, rather than the policy being based on the figures.

"We need these proper analyses. We need to know the details behind these models."

Conservative MP Philip Davies, who voted against the government, said: "Nobody voting for this motion tonight is offering to sacrifice their own job in order to pursue this lockdown policy - of course not. They are just expecting millions of others in our country to sacrifice their jobs to pursue this policy.

"I never thought I would see the day a so-called Conservative minister would stand up and urge Parliament to further sacrifice our most basic of freedoms, collapse the economy and destroy jobs - all to pursue a failed strategy."