Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown
Boris Johnson pleaded with England in a televised address on Monday to follow a fresh round of countrywide restrictions. The new measures follow Government plans for March 2020 and will restrict people’s movement until as late as March 2021. But they have yet to receive their legislative approval, as authorities are currently trusting the public to follow the new rules on good faith.
What time is the vote on the new UK lockdown?
The new UK lockdown came into effect on Monday with the Prime Minister’s stay at home order.
For their own and others’ good, people needed to start following the rules from then, but they weren’t yet legally bound to do so.
Effective enforcement requires the rules to pass into law, which means they need full Parliamentary assent.
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MPs return to the lower house today at Mr Johnson’s behest, despite plans to end Parliamentary recess on January 11.
Their first order of business today is to debate the new lockdown measures.
The Parliamentary day begins at roughly 11.30am with the Prime Minister, who will deliver a statement.
Gavin Williamson will follow with a statement on schools before the debate goes to the floor.
The debate could carry for six or seven hours until around 7pm, after which MPs will vote on the Government’s proposals.
Sir Keir Starmer has committed Labour to vote in favour of the laws, but some Conservative MPs may criticise Mr Johnson’s move.
The limited numbers of lockdown sceptics are not likely to significantly disrupt the vote, however.
Past lockdown votes have seen record numbers of Tory MPs break away and vote against the Prime Minister.
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Tory rebels started emerging in November when 34 MPs voted against another four-week lockdown.
The total swelled to 55 in December when the Prime Minister hoped to pass his revamped tier system.
Mr Johnson’s proposed measures remain unpopular, but they will likely pass more smoothly this time around.
Despite remaining rebels, MPs may opt to abstain rather than vote down the measures as a tidal wave of infections threatens to overwhelm the NHS.
The UK’s chief medical officers warned earlier this week: “Many parts of the health systems in the four nations are already under immense pressure.
“There are currently very high rates of community transmission, with substantial numbers of COVID patients in hospitals and in intensive care.
“Cases are rising almost everywhere, in much of the country driven by the new more transmissible variant.
“We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days.”
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