Saturday, 15 May 2021

Tory civil war: Boris warned furious MPs to rebel after ‘ridiculous’ U-turns that copy SNP

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Boris Johnson has been facing growing backlash from within the Conservative Party over a series of significant U-turns on the Government’s strategy to help the UK return to a semblance of normal life after the coronavirus pandemic. The Department for Education on Tuesday announced secondary school pupils in lockdown areas would be asked to wear face masks after previously insisting coverings would not become mandatory for students. Speaking to Times Radio, 1922 Committee vice-chair Charles Walker warned several of his colleagues have been left “scratching our heads” and growing increasingly frustrated with the constant U-turns.

Mr Walker said: “I think it’s shared by quite a few of my colleagues.

“You know that it’s actually shared by colleagues because many have been voicing their concerns over the past few weeks and months.

“I think what you will see is new voices starting to raise their concerns. I’m not against the Government making big decisions, that is what Government is elected to do but actually big decisions need to be taken in conjunction with debate and with members of Parliament.

“This further shows how excluded we are.”

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The Broxbourne MP suggested the Prime Minister should return to Parliament and seek to initiate a debate on how to best manage the coronavirus crisis with the help of MPs.

He continued: “Whatever the crisis, and this is a big crisis, one of the biggest crises since 1939, we mustn’t just suspend democratic decision making.

“We have laws in place which were put in place in March, which allowed the Government to restrict, literally on a whim, almost every civil liberty that it likes.

“For example, the right of people to have their children around for lunch or to stay the night. This is becoming ridiculous now.

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“And if the Government wants to continue to do this, then it must go back to Parliament and get a mandate to do it.”

Mr Walker also noted he and colleagues are taking issue with the UK Government seemingly setting their position based on the decisions taken by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

He added: “Things now seem to just change on a daily basis and there is growing concern they tend to change about three days after Nicola Sturgeon makes a decision.

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“I thought we were the United Kingdom, I thought the Prime Minister was the most powerful politician in the land, I thought we had some great scientists who deserve to be listened to.

“But none of this seems to count anymore, it is becoming extraordinary and something needs to be done about it.”

The change in face mask policy for schools comes less than two weeks after the Government was forced to perform a painful U-turn on exam results following widespread criticism over an algorithmic downgrade.

Earlier in the year, the Prime Minister also had to change his position on the delivery of free school meals for some of England’s poorest families after Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford mounted a compelling campaign demanding vouchers continue to be provided during the summer.

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