August 8, 2022

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Boris Johnson could bring in an ally of election guru Lynton Crosby to shore up his...

Boris Johnson could bring in an ally of election guru Lynton Crosby to shore up his flailing No10 operation, it was revealed today.
The PM is facing a week from hell with more than 70 Tory MPs threatening to revolt against Plan B coronavirus curbs in a crunch vote tomorrow.
There are also claims that half-a-dozen ministerial aides are considering resigning rather than backing the new restrictions.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid risked inflaming the situation further this warning by warning in a round of interviews that the government might have to go even further, refusing to rule out closing schools again.
Meanwhile, senior Tories are increasingly grim about the prospects of holding on North Shropshire in a by-election on Thursday. The previously rock-solid seat was held by Owen Paterson until he quit over a lobbying scandal. 
Mr Johnson has been under growing pressure to get a grip on Downing Street amid the long-running chaos over sleaze and now ‘partygate’ – with the Conservatives plunging in the polls.
And the premier is said to be in talks with David Canzini, a director at Sir Lynton’s CTF Partners who has worked on many of Mr Johnson’s electoral battles, to be his No10 enforcer. 
He is hoping to have Mr Canzini in place in time for a potentially explosive meeting with senior right-ring Tories on Wednesday, according to the Telegraph.  

As many as 70 Tory backbenchers are poised to oppose the Plan B measures to counter the threat of the Omicron variant – the biggest rebellion of Mr Johnson’s premiership

Commuters at King’s Cross station in London this morning, as work from home guidance came into effect

Steve Baker (left) is a leading Tory rebel on Covid rules. Conservative party MP Danny Kruger (right) – PPS to Michael Gove – is believed to be part of a WhatsApp group of ministerial aides discussing how to vote on new restrictions

The UK Covid alert level was raised from level 3 to level 4 after the UK reported another 1,239 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant 

 

Tory MPs Angela Richardson (left) and Joy Morrissey (right) are also thought to be among the group of rebel ministerial aides. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid risked inflaming the situation further this warning by warning in a round of interviews that the government might have to go even further, refusing to rule out closing schools again

Who is in the rebel PPS WhatsApp group? 

James Sunderland (PPS to Defence secretary Ben Wallace)
Danny Kruger (PPS to Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove)
Angela Richardson (PPS to Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove)
Joy Morrissey (PPs to Justice secretary Dominic Raab)
Mike Wood (PPS to Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab)
Claire Coutinho (PPS to Chancellor Rishi Sunak)
Gareth Bacon (PPS to Work and Pensions secretary Therese Coffey)
Jonathan Gullis (PPS to Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis)
Gagan Mohindra (PPS to Home Secretary Priti Patel)
Katharine Fletcher (PPS to Cop26 minister Alok Sharma) 

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The Commons showdown tomorrow looks set to be the biggest of Mr Johnson’s premiership. 
The restrictions will see proof of vaccination or a negative test become mandatory for large venues this week, and work from home guidance returned today.
The PM will avoid an embarrassing defeat with the measures set to be voted through thanks to backing from Labour, but the scale of the rebellion could be hugely damaging with his position already seriously in question for the first time.
Despite the rising tensions with lockdown sceptics on the Tory benches, Mr Javid said today that he could not guarantee schools would not close again.
Asked on LBC whether this remained a possibility, Mr Javid said: ‘Well, I don’t want to see that or any of these kinds of measures. I’m just going to focus on everything else we need to be doing, especially the booster programme.’
He added: ‘I’d say this… if you are asking me for guarantees, I will just say – as the Health Secretary, of course, I’m not the Education Secretary – as the Health Secretary, that there are, when it comes to our fight against this pandemic, there are no guarantees.
‘But what we do know that works is, in this case, a booster shot of the vaccine.’
Several Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) – the most junior rank on the government ladder – are believed to be considering resignation.
Around 10 have reportedly formed a WhatsApp group to discuss how to vote on the new measures.
They are said to include two of Michael Gove’s three ministerial aides – Danny Kruger and Angela Richardson – along with two of the three ministerial aides to Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab – Joy Morrissey and Mike Wood.
Many MPs are fearful the PM may impose even stricter curbs before Christmas, but officials are already drawing up a Plan C which would see the return of ‘checking in’ to a pub or restaurant, using masks in all indoor spaces and having to show a vaccine status at even more venues. 
Tory former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said last night he believed Plan B was a ‘stepping stone’ into another lockdown – and accused ministers of moving ‘without the facts’ on Omicron.
He branded the proposals ‘unnecessary’ and ‘damaging’ and said further restrictions would ‘only amplify those effects’, adding it ‘feels like’ a lockdown by stealth.
Conservative Peter Bone told the Daily Mail vaccine passports ‘are nothing more than an identity card’ and do not work.
‘Testing is the way if you want to stop people (spreading Covid).’
‘The problem is we are halfway between two things: the Government has done a bit by what they call Plan B – but in a way Plan B is a stepping stone to a lockdown. We cannot lockdown again. Schools cannot shut,’ he said.
Backbencher Henry Smith said Plan B was a ‘danger to our civil liberties’ which would ‘severely impact’ economic recovery prospects. He added: ‘I think it is yet further distraction from other health conditions which require attention – such as the cancer backlog – and I don’t actually think (the restrictions) work.’
He branded the proposals ‘unnecessary’ and ‘damaging’ and said further restrictions would ‘only amplify those effects’, adding it ‘feels like’ a lockdown by stealth.
Conservative Peter Bone told the Daily Mail vaccine passports ‘are nothing more than an identity card’ and do not work.
‘Testing is the way if you want to stop people (spreading Covid).’

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The above map shows the ten areas that have the most confirmed and suspected Omicron cases in England, according to the UK Health Security Agency. West Northamptonshire is the country’s hotspot for the mutant strain, although eight in ten areas on the list are in London

The restrictions will see proof of vaccination or a negative test become mandatory for large venues this week, and today the return of work from home guidance (pictured)

What are the Covid rules in England under plan B?

WFH
The return of work from home guidance. People will be told to work from home in England from Monday if they are able to.
Face masks 
Face masks will be made compulsory in most public indoor venues including in cinemas and theatres from this Friday. They will not be required in pubs, restaurants and gyms.
Vaccine passports 
The NHS Covid pass will be compulsory to gain access to nightclubs and other large venues where large crowds gather. 
This will apply to all unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.  
This requirement will be rolled out in one week’s time to give businesses time to prepare. 
Contact testing 
Contacts of Omicron cases will be told to take daily coronavirus tests instead of having to self-isolate. They will have to quarantine if they test positive. 

Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen slammed Plan B as ‘a complete overreaction not supported by the science or the data’.
‘I’m not voting for Plan B, I didn’t even vote for Plan A, and I certainly will not be supporting any further removal of freedoms from British citizens over a mild variant with a very low hospitalisation rate.’
Rebel ringleader Steve Baker accused the Government of creating a ‘miserable dystopia’ and suggested his party was drifting into authoritarianism.
He said at least 60 Tories will vote against Plan B but it was a ‘foregone conclusion because our useless opposition in name only will continue to support the Government, however authoritarian they are’.
‘This disease will now be with us forever, there will be new variants, the vaccine continues to give a high degree of protection against serious illness and death and we just do now need to get on with our lives,’ he told Sky News.
‘We’ve got to show that there’s a movement for that frame of mind because if we don’t, the Conservative Party will continue to drift into authoritarianism and I simply cannot stand idly by while that happens.’
Tory whips will today continue their attempts to quell the revolt, and were engaged in a ‘massive ring round’ over the weekend.
But despite the scale of the rebellion, Plan B is expected to become law as Labour will support the measures tomorrow.
Sir Keir Starmer said the party will vote with the Government – not to support the Prime Minister but the NHS.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi insisted yesterday the Government is not introducing a ‘vaccine passport’.

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He told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘This is not a vaccine passport. These are high-risk events where we ask people either to take a free lateral flow test or to be vaccinated to attend.’
Mr Johnson was also warned of the impact the restrictions will have on hospitality. Clive Watson, chairman of the City Pub Group which operates almost 50 pubs in London and the South East, said: ‘Revenue could take a hit of around 30 per cent – it would be hugely damaging and without government support many businesses will be tipped over the edge.’
Mask-wearing became mandatory in cinemas, theatres and places of worship on Friday, and work from home guidance returned today. 
Needing to show proof of vaccine status or a negative test will come into force for large venues from Wednesday.

Officials are already drawing up a Plan C which would see the return of ‘checking in’ to a pub or restaurant, using masks in all indoor spaces and having to show a vaccine status at even more venues

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Boris ‘could bring in enforcer’ to get a grip on No10 chaos appeared first on maserietv.com.