‘Heading to hell’ Boris hit by ANOTHER revolt by own MPs – fears of lockdown rules

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Some 34 backbench MPs out of the 360 in Parliament rebelled in a vote on new Covid restrictions. The number rejecting the plan is smaller than in previous votes on coronavirus restrictions but will be a stark reminder to No10 of the continued disquiet among Tory ranks.

On Tuesday, new regulations were introduced by the Government in response to the Omicron strain spreading around the world.

Wearing face coverings is now mandatory in shops and on public transport – and tighter testing requirements for international travel were introduced.

Ministers also reinstated self-isolation for contacts of confirmed Omicron cases, even if they have been fully vaccinated.

Some Tory MPs were left furious at the new requirements and lined up in the House of Commons to attack the Government, claiming the UK is “heading towards hell”.

There were 19 Tories – with two rebel tellers – opposed to mask-wearing measures.

However, 34 Conservatives rebelled by voting against the self-isolation regulations.

Former minister Steve Baker said: “We are taking away the public’s right to choose what they do based on flimsy and uncertain evidence.”

The devoted Christian added: “This is a fundamental choice between heading towards heaven and heading towards hell.”

Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the powerful Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, said there were “serious concerns” about the “efficacy of what is being proposed”, and warned against “mission creep”.

Meanwhile, Mark Harper, who leads the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Conservatives, warned the legislation on self-isolation will not expire until March next year, leading to concerns Britain is returning to months of rules last introduced during lockdowns.

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A Government source told The Telegraph: “I haven’t found a good reason for it, I was slightly surprised by that.

“It seems another sign of the Department for Health unnecessarily losing trust and goodwill with backbenchers.”

The Prime Minister has insisted the new restrictions are a package of “balanced and proportionate measures”.

So far, 22 cases of the Omicron variant have been found in the UK.

Scientists have been left spooked by the strain, with fears it could be more transmissible and vaccine resistant than the dominant Delta mutation.

Work is rapidly underway to understand the exact impact of Covid jabs, with results expected in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, ministers have rolled out the booster vaccine campaign to all adults in a bid to provide maximum protection to as many people as possible.

It is thought that, even if the variant is less impacted by the jabs, a third injection will help bolster defences.

The Prime Minister yesterday promised that everyone eligible would be offered a booster jab by the end of January, with at least 400 military personnel helping the NHS and vaccination centres “popping up like Christmas trees”.

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