British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had a few difficult weeks, and there is little prospect of improvement for the time being. There is strong opposition to the corona measures within his own Conservative Party that are up for a vote later on Tuesday.
The opposition Labour party has already indicated that it will agree to Plan B, the package of new measures against the spread of the virus.
Due to the rapid spread of the omikron variant, the British government wants to introduce stricter measures. For example, nightclubs and some other companies in England must check whether adult visitors have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or have recently tested negative. Parliament is also voting on a tightened mouth cap obligation.
The internal rebellion against the stricter measures has to do with, among other things, recently leaked images showing that Johnson or members of his entourage did not take too closely the corona rules at the end of last year. In addition, some of Johnson’s party members point out that it is difficult to enforce the rules if Johnson and co do not follow the rules themselves.
MP Henry Smith, who is known as a supporter of Johnson, further told Sky News that citizens’ freedoms are further undermined. He also predicted that the government’s plans would harm the economy.
According to conservative magazine The Spectator, 77 of the 361 Tories in the House of Commons have said they will vote against the government – Johnson has a majority of 79 votes.
Labour will therefore agree to the new rules, but at the same time, the Social Democrats are also increasing the pressure on the prime minister. They are urging the Tories to give up confidence in Johnson. Labour leader Keir Starmer says Johnson is unfit to lead the country.
On top of that internal rebellion came a blunder by Johnson’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab on Tuesday. In an interview with Sky News, he said that 250 people had been admitted to the omikron variant in British hospitals, but it later turned out that there were only 10. The station was told that Raab had apparently misheard or misunderstood the question.
New problems threaten Johnson later this week. In the North Shropshire district, a conservative stronghold, elections will be held after Owen Paterson, a close confidant of Johnson was forced to resign after becoming embroiled in a scandal. Paterson’s parliamentary seat may go to the Liberal Democrat candidate on Thursday.