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Five Kent MPs vote against Covid passes as Boris Johnson suffers largest rebellion of his premiership


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Five Kent MPs are among those who voted against Covid passes in England as Boris Johnson suffered his largest Tory rebellion since he became Prime Minister.

Almost 100 Conservatives voted against the government, with the new measures passing because of support from Labour.

The NHS app, used to show a person’s vaccination status and Covid Pass (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The NHS app, used to show a person’s vaccination status and Covid Pass (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The PM’s attempts to quell a rebellion on his own backbenches failed as a large number of his MPs defied the whip to vote against him on the issue of the passes, which have also been known as vaccine passports.

Five Conservative MP's in Kent were among those who joined the revolt, which includes Damian Green (Ashford), Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling), Adam Holloway (Gravesham), Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet) and Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford).

Of the five, only Craig Mackinlay had previously indicated he was going to vote against the vaccine passes.

Damian Green, the former deputy Prime Minister, was among the surprises as Boris Johnson faced a much heavier defeat than expected.

Mr Green said the vaccine passes was simply impractical.

He added: “It’s a gesture, it’s doing something for the sake of doing something.”

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee said a leadership challenge next year had “got to be on the cards” if the PM did not change his approach.

Boris Johnson suffered the largest rebellion since he became Prime Minister as nearly 100 Tory MPs voted against measures which would usher in the mandatory use of Covid passes. Picture: Kirsty O’Connor/PA
Boris Johnson suffered the largest rebellion since he became Prime Minister as nearly 100 Tory MPs voted against measures which would usher in the mandatory use of Covid passes. Picture: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

Other measures under the government’s Plan B also cleared the Commons, but the vote on Covid passes will be seen as a blow to Mr Johnson’s authority after a challenging week for the PM.

Earlier, Mr Johnson had addressed the 1922 Committee to try and convince them to back his plans.

And he had been individually speaking to those who had publicly said they would oppose the measure earlier in the day.

Some seemed convinced after the meeting, but in the end 126 MPs voted against the use of the passes at nightclubs and large venues.

Some 369 MPs backed the move to introduce Covid passes – which have also been known as vaccine passports – in large venues, giving a majority of 243.

But the division list showed 96 Conservative MPs voted against and two Tory MPs also acted as tellers for the noes.

Eight Labour MPs, 10 Liberal Democrats, six DUP, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Independent MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Rob Roberts also opposed the regulations, according to the list.

The measures will mean people will have to prove that they are either fully vaccinated or have had a recent negative coronavirus test before they can go to nightclubs and large venues.

Before Tuesday, the biggest rebellion Mr Johnson had faced was in December 2020, against the strengthening of Covid-19 tier restrictions in England.

Then, a total of 55 Conservative MPs voted against the government. This includes the two MPs who acted as tellers for the noes.

The list of those who voted against included the newest Tory MP Louie French, who was elected in the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election and has been in the Commons for less than two weeks.

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