Government accused of adopting “tunnel vision” approach to restrictions
Conservative MPs have expressed fury at the possibility of a repeat of the “pingdemia” over the holiday season.
Steve Brine, former health minister, warned, “We don’t just watch a pingemia in our economy and in our businesses. We envision a pingemia that will once again devastate education. “
Craig Mackinlay, a Tory MP, warned that isolation rules could deter people from going to a Christmas party or pub for fear of being ‘pinched’ before Christmas Day and failing to see their family and friends. He expressed his concerns about the “slippage of the mission” in the restrictions.
Sir Desmond Swayne, another Tory MP, argued that forcing double-vaccinated people to self-isolate would remove an incentive to get the booster vaccine, which could hurt the government’s campaign to roll out third doses.
In an emotional speech in the House of Commons, Steve Baker slammed ministers for “taking away the public’s right to choose what to do” on the basis of evidence he called “weak and uncertain. “.
Accusing the government of taking a “tunnel vision” approach to restrictions, he said the latest measures raised critical questions about freedom.
“Are we empty vessels, simple autonomy, things to be managed? Or free spirits with a soul, people who deserve the dignity of choosing? ” He asked.
A committed Christian, Baker added, “It is a fundamental choice between going to Heaven and going to Hell.
Make a commitment that your period will not last “a day longer than necessary”
Mr. Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of conservative politicians skeptical of containment, first stressed that the isolation rules would stay in place much longer than the new mask rules, which expire on December 20.
He told the House of Commons: “The statutory instrument of self-isolation has no expiration date, which means that it will apply until the expiration of the main statutory instrument. March 24, 2022. Why?
Maggie Throup, the Minister of Vaccines, said she made “a good point”. However, she promised the government would notify the House of any plans to extend the measure and not keep the regulations “longer” than necessary.
His comments echoed Mr Javid’s wish this week that the new measures will not stay “a day longer than necessary” if omicron turns out to be no more dangerous than delta. He said he would review all new Covid measures after three weeks.
On Tuesday, a government source was scathing that the measure has been in law for so long.
“I couldn’t find a good reason for that, I was slightly surprised. This seems another sign that the Department of Health is needlessly losing trust and goodwill with backbench MPs, ”the insider told The Telegraph.
However, other members of the government insisted that the legal duration of the regulation resulted from the fact that they simply updated the existing legislation with this expiration date, while the regulation on masks was introduced as part of new legislation to easily include an earlier expiration date.
A Whitehall source said all isolation, mask and travel rules were seen in government as “one package” and insisted ministers had provided “assurance” that the the entire package would be reviewed in three weeks.
The source added of the isolation rules: “Everything has been done at such intense speed to respond to the omicron threat. This was the fastest way lawyers could find to integrate it into the regulations, the easiest [legislatory] vehicle. “
The revolt of 33 Tory MPs preceded on Tuesday an earlier rebellion against the new mask mandate, which was opposed by 20 Tory MPs.
Both measures passed easily through Commons as a whole, with self-isolation rules supported from 431 to 36, and coverage requirements for shops and public transport supported from 434 to 23.