Boris Johnson has suffered a major Tory backbench rebellion over the 10pm hospitality curfew, amid a growing backlash against Government coronavirus restrictions.
MPs approved the Government’s new three tier alert system for England without the need for a formal vote. But a group of backbench Conservatives forced a division to register their disapproval over the curfew affecting pubs and restaurants in England.
The vote was symbolic as the new alert system supersedes the previous regulations, and includes the 10pm curfew as a minimum measure. Yet this did not stop 42 Tory MPs rebelling to retrospectively oppose the curfew, which was approved by 299 votes to 82 – majority 217.
A further two Conservative MPs acted as tellers for the noes, bringing the rebellion up to 44, while 298 Tories voted in favour.
A total of 23 Labour MPs also opposed the measure, including former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier conceded the curfew was a “matter of policy choice” in order to keep schools and workplaces open, rather than something driven by the science.