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Now Tory MPs Warn: Don’t Toughen Covid New Years Rules | Preservatives

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Cabinet ministers vying to succeed Boris Johnson have been warned by Tory colleagues that they will hurt their chances unless they forcefully oppose further Covid measures, as MPs have called for exclusion of New Years restrictions.

While ministers are expected to meet as early as Monday to discuss the need for additional measures to protect hospital capacity, several Tories have said they will monitor who becomes the main candidates to replace Johnson if he steps down before the next election.

The news comes after it emerged that government science advisers had modeled the impact of implementing the so-called “step 2” restrictions from Tuesday. Such measures would end indoor gatherings, limited outdoor gatherings, and bars and restaurants that can only be used outdoors. Modeling suggested that the restrictions could reduce deaths by 18% if maintained until mid-January or by 39% if maintained until the end of March.

Delaying measurements until New Year’s Day would reduce their impact, although scientists said their models did not have “sufficient accuracy” to detect differences within a short time. “When an epidemic develops rapidly, the earlier the interventions, the greater their effect,” they said.

The UK recorded 122,186 new cases of Covid on Friday, the highest so far, while the Office for National Statistics estimated 1.7 million Britons had the virus in the week ending 19 December, also a record.

However, Conservative MPs are toughening their stance against further restrictions and now want cabinet ministers to voice their opposition. “If No 10 comes up with tighter restrictions just after Christmas, these instinctively freedom-loving cabinet ministers – who gave us all so much hope last week – must speak out,” a member said. of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs. “In any future leadership race we will all remember how they acted this week. We need true, courageous, freedom-loving conservatives to save us from this madness. “

Other Tory MPs have also said they will consider a candidate’s stance on restrictions in any leadership contest.

Now Tory MPs Warn: Don’t Toughen Covid New Years Rules |  Preservatives

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Liz Truss, one of the Tory leader’s favorites, is opposed to tighter restrictions. Photograph: Hannah McKay / Reuters

It shows how speculation about Johnson’s position is likely to affect the government’s Covid policies. It also reveals a weakening of the Prime Minister’s authority after a series of scandals and setbacks which have seen Labor take the lead in the polls.

Liz Truss, the foreign minister, and Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, are considered the favorites if the Tory leadership becomes available. Both have reportedly recently expressed their opposition to the tightening of restrictions. The Prime Minister’s allies have already accused them of scrambling for positions.

Several MPs said data suggesting the Omicron was less severe than the Delta variant it moved meant further restrictions should not be needed. “The evidence shows that there is no need for further restrictions,” Tory MP Richard Drax said. “It’s time to trust people to lead their own lives and for the state to back down right away. Former Minister Desmond Swayne said, “We have earned the right to be treated like adults: to make our own assessment of the risks we are willing to take and the reasonable precautions we are taking. People are fed up with being told what not to do.

Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Conservative MPs committee, said: “As we look forward to the new year, it is time to step out of the lazy assumption that government has the right to control our lives; we should take responsibility for our own lives once again. Charles Walker, former vice-chairman of the committee, said: “I think the Prime Minister has done extremely well to weigh the information, keep his cool and get us to this point. Like everyone else, I hope the emerging data supports the continuation of the current course of action. “

However, scientists continued to stress the need for extreme caution over the coming weeks and to consider further restrictions. “The wisest course is clearly to do everything possible to minimize transmission as the size and nature of Omicron’s impact becomes clearer and all those who wish are given a reminder and have time to prepare for a response. immune response, “said Professor Adam. Finn from the University of Bristol. “Better to be criticized for overreacting than for not acting when there was still time.”

This point was supported by Stephen Griffin of the University of Leeds. “We must follow the precautionary principle and act ahead of the curve. And that’s the problem right now, we’re not doing it. We will therefore suffer prejudice. We will know more about Long Covid and we will allow the virus to continue to evolve, I’m afraid. “

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