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Boris Johnson suffers largest rebellion of his premiership over Covid passes

By PA News

Boris Johnson has 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.

The new measures passed the Commons thanks to the support of Labour, but 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.

And 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.

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.

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)

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 96 Conservative MPs voted against the Covid pass regulations for England.

Two Tory MPs also acted as tellers for the noes.

While 369 MPs backed the move, giving a majority of 243.

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.


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