Rebellion is brewing within the UK Conservatives after Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted at the possibility of mandatory vaccination, a move that has been called “political suicide” by the chairman of the country’s oldest conservative think tank and which comes at the same time as a major and growing scandal surrounding lockdown-busting Christmas parties allegedly held at the PM’s official residence.
British Conservatives are on a war footing after Borish Johnson announced the implementation of Covid passes in England, as well as appearing to suggest that mandatory vaccination should be considered within the UK. Some have alleged the announcement was a cynical ploy by No.10 to deflect attention from a growing scandal over alleged Covid rule-breaking parties in Downing Street last Christmas.
The new restrictions, colloquially known as “Plan B”, include an expansion of the mask mandate in England to most public indoor settings, a work from home order which comes into force on Monday, and the implementation of an internal Covid pass system for nightclubs and other large events.
“It’s now the proportionate and responsible thing to move to ‘Plan B’ in England,” the prime minister said during a press conference on Wednesday, going on to claim there was a need to “slow the spread of the virus” and “buy ourselves the time to get more boosters into arms and especially in the older and more vulnerable people”.
Johnson also asked for a “national conversation” to be had regarding mandatory vaccination, saying that he didn’t believe “we can keep going indefinitely with non-pharmaceutical interventions”.
The announcements have prompted outcry from conservatives across Britain, both inside and outside parliament.
Commentators have lambasted the move, with Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the UK’s oldest conservative think tank The Bow Group, calling it “political suicide”.
Meanwhile, Conservative MPs are up in arms, with some outright demanding a vote against their own government.
From the Paterson case to the Christmas parties…the credibility of those at the very top has been seriously damaged.
Why should people listen to the Prime Minister’s instructions to follow the rules when people inside Number 10 Downing Street don’t do so?
No to Plan B 👇 pic.twitter.com/N0si6b1kCC
— Mark Harper (@Mark_J_Harper) December 8, 2021
“Why should people listen to the Prime Minister’s instructions to follow the rules when people inside Number 10 Downing Street don’t do so?” asked Mark Harper MP, the chairman of the Conservative lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group in parliament.
“I don’t believe the evidence supports Plan B and I will not vote for it,” wrote Conservative MP Ben Bradley regarding the new restrictions.
“It is vital that the maximum number of Conservative MPs vote against Plan B, whatever our useless Opposition do,” Steve Baker, another backbench Conservative MP, stated. “This is now about the kind of future we are creating. Our choices could scarcely be more important.”
“Vaccine passports are divisive & discriminatory. They do not stop the spread of Covid,” said Conservative MP Simon Jupp. “I won’t vote for these measures.”
“I can say categorically that compulsory vaccinations are a step too far,” Angela Richardson, another Conservative MP, wrote. “That is my contribution to a national conversation.”
✊It is vital that the maximum number of Conservative MPs vote against Plan B, whatever our useless Opposition do.
🗽This is now about the kind of future we are creating. Our choices could scarcely be more important 👇 https://t.co/RSeqGWHoTx
— Steve Baker MP FRSA (@SteveBakerHW) December 8, 2021
Health Secretary Savid Javid rejected the idea of mandatory vaccination in the UK in an interview with Sky News, however only expressed his personal objections while making no firm statement that he would refuse to support the move.
“I’ve got no interest in mandatory vaccination,” Javid said. “I think ethically it’s wrong, but also at a very practical level, it just wouldn’t work.”
Chairman of The Bow Group Ben Harris-Quinney came out strongly against the suggested measures, lambasting the hypocrisy of the Johnson government regarding the alleged breaching of lockdown restrictions in No 10 last year.
“I have not only never seen people of all walks of life and all political persuasions so angry, I have never seen such an utter farce in politics as this,” Mr Harris-Quinney told Breitbart London. “It is political suicide for Boris Johnson, and that is up to him, but we can’t allow him to take the country down with him.”
Mr Harris-Quinney continued: “It is deeply worrying to hear a British prime minister even discuss the possibility of using force against the public to make them have a medical treatment they do not want.”
“If our Government do mandate forced vaccines, the situation moves into a very dark and dangerous place, and I think at that point it becomes morally justifiable as citizens to cease to recognise this Government or agents of this Government as a legitimate authority in our country,” he said.
Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage also threw his hat into the ring over Johnson’s suggestion regarding forced vaccination.
“I am absolutely astonished by that,” Farage said on Wednesday night. “I am not surprised the Germans, the Austrians, the European Union are going down that path. But I never, ever, believed in my life I would hear such a thing from a British prime minister.”
“As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Johnson, I’m not listening anymore, I don’t believe you have the moral authority to lead this country,” Farage — who orchestrated the demise of both of the previous British prime ministers — continued. “I’ve no intention of abiding by anything you’ve asked me to do this evening, and I think that sentiment is one that is being much more widely shared around this country.”
‘I am absolutely astonished… I never believed I would hear such a thing from a British Prime Minister’
Nigel Farage responds to Boris Johnson’s calls for a ‘national conversation’ on mandatory vaccinations. pic.twitter.com/gUVIKVXrpO
— GB News (@GBNEWS) December 8, 2021
Johnson’s sudden implementation of heavy restrictions in England comes in direct response to the proliferation of the Omicron variant of Covid within the UK. This is despite the British government admitting in its own press conference that it knows little about how the new variant will impact the country.
Johnson, however, has been accused of trying to distract the public with the rather abrupt timing of the announcement, which appears to coincide with a rapid increase in pressure on the prime minister over alleged illegal gatherings which are said to have taken place in No 1o last year.
The events, should they have occurred, happened during a period of intense lockdown in England, with a number of MPs and political commentators claiming that they constitute a breach of restrictions in place at the time.