Tory rebels slammed Opposition MPs for failing to turn up to a crucial coronavirus debate last night as Boris Johnson was hit with a mutiny over delaying ‘Freedom Day’.
The House of Commons approved the extension of Covid restrictions in England until July 19 by a huge margin of 489 to 60 thanks to Keir Starmer endorsing the move.
But 51 Conservatives rebelled amid warnings that the PM must not ‘shift the goalposts’ and push the deadline back again.
There were 49 Tory rebels voting against the bill, including heavyweights David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Esther McVey. With the two ‘tellers’ that gives a total rebellion of 51.
Five DUP and six Labour MPs also joined the Noe lobby.
During the four-hour debate Conservative Peter Bone noted that the Opposition benches were almost deserted.
Raising a point of order with deputy speaker Nigel Evans, Mr Bone said: ‘I wonder whether you could help me in regard to social distancing.
‘There is not a single Labour Member on the Opposition Benches. There are no SNP; there are no Liberal Democrats; there are no Plaid Cymru. Of course there are the DUP.
‘Would it be appropriate, because the Conservative Benches are packed, for half of us to move over to the other side of the House to improve social distancing?’
Read more: Where is the opposition? Labour, Lib Dems and SNP fail to attend crucial ‘Covid’ debate in Commons as Johnson is hit with mutiny from 51 of his own MPs – but ‘Freedom Day’ delay sails through with the usual help from the useless Starmer