Senior Tory MP Accuses Own Govt of ‘Waging’ Coronavirus ‘Propaganda War’

Christmas
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope has accused his own government of “waging” a “propaganda war” on the British people to encourage them to support continuing restrictions.

The veteran MP for Christchurch in the south of England also warned that with the Opposition and most of Tories backing the Johnson administration, it would take a mass change in public opinion for government to likewise change policy in favour of ending restrictive measures.

Sir Christopher made the remarks ahead of the prime minister’s planned announcement next week where he will confirm whether Christmas can go ahead as normally as possible after rules on mask-wearing were re-introduced following the discovering of a new variant of the Chinese virus.

Asked on Monday by talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer on what appears to be the constant black cloud of threat over potential new restrictions before Christmas or after Christmas, Sir Christopher remarked: “It’s part of the government’s campaign of fear-mongering. They are trying to use fear as a tool to suppress individual liberty. They’ve been pretty successful at it, actually, because so many of our fellow citizens are cowered into submission.”

The Conservative MP then claimed that it was difficult for him and other lockdown-sceptic lawmakers to have their opposing position aired in the mainstream media, saying: “It has been very difficult for those of us in the House of Commons who have articulated an alternative point of view to get airtime, to get listened to, and yet we know from our emails how many people across the country agree with us and are just asking us to persuade the government to apply a bit of common sense.”

Sir Christopher also noted that there was no support on the government’s Opposition, largely the Labour Party and other smaller parties, nor in government ministers to challenge any new potential restrictions in a House of Commons vote, with only a few dozen Conservative party non-governmental MPs, known as backbenchers, in dissent.

He said: “The problem in Parliament is that all the people on the Opposition benches are supporting the government so the people who are standing up for freedom of the individual and individual responsibility are the 30 or maybe 50 of us who are on the backbenches and who are not beholden to the government because the government has a lot of people on its payroll.

“Will we win? The only way we will win is by getting a change in public opinion, and that’s where this propaganda war is being waged. The government is waging a propaganda war and it’s obsessed by going out and doing opinion polls. Well, if your propaganda’s successful, and you ask those people, they’ll say, yes, I’m very happy to have my freedoms restricted.”

The “propaganda war” appears to be winning, with the latest polling on the matter by YouGov finding that almost at a rate of two to three, would Britons support (63 per cent) a ban on the unvaccinated from public places like non-essential shops and events.

Other polls in recent weeks found the majority of Britons predicting new Covid restrictions to be brought in over Christmas, with one from late October finding strong majorities of people backing compulsory masks in shops and public transport (76 per cent), work-from-home advice reissued (69 per cent), and vaccine passports for large events (also 69 per cent).

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