Covid ‘passports’ or passes for nightclubs and large venues, compulsory Covid vaccines for frontline NHS staff and mandatory masks in most public indoor spaces will all come into force after a vote by MPs tonight.
But 96 Conservative MPs voted against bringing in new restrictions, in the biggest Government rebellion yet since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. Labour MPs, with the exception of eight colleagues, voted for the plans.
The Government’s proposals for tackling the rising cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant were Here’s what they voted for:
- Mandatory masks in most public indoor spaces, except for pubs, restaurants and gyms
- Allowing fully vaccinated people who come into contact with a Covid case to take daily tests for seven days, rather than self-isolating
- Compulsory Covid passes – showing proof of full vaccination, a recent negative test or recovery from Covid – to enter nightclubs and other large venues
- Mandatory Covid vaccination for front-line NHS staff from the beginning of April
Cabinet Office Minister Steven Barclay closed the debate by recognising the “strength of feeling” of MPs and the “constructive approach” taken by the opposition.
He warned Omicron will become the dominant variant in London in the next 36 hours and the country as a whole soon.
He said the measures proposed by the Government will buy time to deliver Covid-19 booster vaccination jabs, which he said is the best protection against the variant.
The Cabinet Office Minister said vaccination is now “doubly important” in the face of Omicron.
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “A number of constituents have contacted me about this afternoon’s votes on Covid restrictions and the Government’s Plan B.
Southport MP Damien Moore revealed why he had voted against new restrictions being introduced.
He said: “Vaccine passports or other restrictions on people’s liberty I believe at this stage to be divisive, imperious, and disproportionate to the threat posed by the new variant.
“I am extremely proud that we have delivered over 121 million jabs into arms across the UK, including over 23 million booster jabs. This has enabled us to relax earlier restrictions that were necessary, and get back to doing the things we love.
“Vaccines have always been our way out of this pandemic. The latest scientific evidence points towards Omicron being less severe than previous Covid mutations, with those who have had all their doses substantially better protected than the unvaccinated, who have minimal protection.
“There is no evidence as yet that we need the extra restrictions, restrictions that will harm businesses, livelihoods, and our local community in Southport. I continue to urge everybody to get all their Covid jabs and Get Boosted Now.”
The NHS vaccination programme is offering every adult the chance to book a Covid-19 booster vaccine by the end of the year in a race to protect the nation against the Omicron variant.
Sefton Council Director of Public Health Margaret Jones said: “Making sure you are fully vaccinated, which means jabs one and two and a booster, is still the best protection from the Covid-19 virus.
“Anyone who has not yet had their first or second jab can book them now at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or by calling 119.
“And anyone aged over 30 or over can now go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or call 119 to book their booster and make sure they are fully protected.”