UK

Boris Johnson faces a new Tory rebellion threat over pre-Easter vote to extend lockdown laws

Boris Johnson faces a new Tory rebellion threat over pre-Easter vote to extend lockdown laws for another SIX MONTHS despite plans to end most restrictions in June

Boris Johnson is facing yet another Tory rebellion over lockdown rules today with backbenchers planning to vote against extending the laws for a further six months.

The legislation governing the current shutdown has to be approved again by MPs on or before March 25.

But it can only be extended for six months at a time, meaning a pre-Easter vote would extend the law until September, despite plans to come out of most lockdown rules by late June.

‘Dozens’ of senior lockdownsceptic MPs are expected to vote against renewing the legislation, according to the Telegraph.

They want the lockdown to be ended far sooner than the proposed June 21 end-date, arguing the success of the vaccination programme allows it to be significantly sped up.

Coronavirus Recovery Group chairman Mark Harper told the paper: ‘With better news and data each week about the NHS vaccination rollout … the Government must ensure data, science and evidence lie at the heart of its approach. 

‘Sticking rigidly to a set of dates based on outdated, overly pessimistic modelling would be a mistake.’ 

Boris Johnson is sticking to a lockdown rollback programme that leaves five weeks between each easement measure

Coronavirus Recovery Group chairman Mark Harper said: 'Sticking rigidly to a set of dates based on outdated, overly pessimistic modelling would be a mistake.'

Coronavirus Recovery Group chairman Mark Harper said: ‘Sticking rigidly to a set of dates based on outdated, overly pessimistic modelling would be a mistake.’

Britain reported 121 new COVID deaths on Saturday, taking the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test result to 125,464, daily government figures showed.

A further 5,534 people have tested positive for the disease, down from 6,040 last Saturday, while the number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose has risen to 23.684 million from 23.315 million the day before.

Last Saturday 158 deaths were recorded – a 45 per cent reduction on the 290 deaths recorded the weekend before that.

The latest figures from the Government act as further proof of Britain’s successful vaccine roll-out.

So far, more than 23.68million vaccine doses have been administered in the UK with 1.45million people fully vaccinated.

No10’s scientific advisory panel SAGE estimates the reproduction rate — the average number of people infected by each person with coronavirus — is between 0.6 and 0.8 across the UK and England, meaning the outbreak is still shrinking.

This was also the level given for England, and the regions the East of England, London, Midlands, North West and South East.

It was slightly higher in the North East and Yorkshire, where it is likely between 0.7 and 0.9, and slightly lower in the South West where it was between 0.5 and 0.8.

No regions had an R rate over 1, suggesting the second wave is still shrinking in all areas.

Office for National Statistics experts claimed yesterday that the total number of people infected with Covid in England fell by a fifth to just over 200,000 last week — the equivalent of one in 270 people.

And data from a major symptom-tracking app today claimed 4,200 people are becoming ill with the disease every day — down by a third in a week.

Professor Tim Spector, a King’s College London epidemiologist behind the study, said he believes the ‘darkest days are behind us.’

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