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MPs to vote on ‘rule of six’ before government imposes more COVID restrictions

Written by on 26 September 2020

The government has said MPs will get to vote on the “rule of six” as it attempts to see off a rebellion by Conservatives who want more scrutiny of coronavirus regulations.

Senior Tory Sir Graham Brady told Sky News he would be “pressing on” with his attempt to change the law as “we need debates and votes in advance where practicable”.

Another backbench rebel said the offer by the government was “not the point and not a concession” as under existing procedures they would be given a retrospective vote anyway.

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There is now considerable cross-party support for a change to the law to allow votes before new coronavirus rules come in, with dozens of Tories prepared to vote against the government.

Labour is said to be “sympathetic” to the amendment, making it highly likely that the prime minister could lose his first vote in the Commons since the December election.

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Coronavirus: What measures are there in your area?

Writing in today’s Telegraph, Sir Graham accused ministers of governing by decree and said increased scrutiny from MPs would improve decision-making.

A senior government source said: “We understand MPs and their constituents are deeply concerned about the virus and that is why we are seeking to involve them in the process as much as possible.”

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It comes amid concern from some Tory MPs at new national COVID-19 restrictions introduced by Boris Johnson earlier this week.

Chair of the Commons Defence Committee Tobias Ellwood called on the government to “revisit” its 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants.

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His comments came after footage was published online showing crowds in central London late last night.

Infectious disease modelling expert Graham Medley, who attends the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told the BBC he had “never heard” the curfew mentioned during meetings.