Mansfield and Ashfield's MP among nearly 100 Tories to defy Government over Covid passes

The Conservative MPs for Mansfield and Ashfield were among nearly 100 Tory members of parliament who defied the Government over plans to introduce Covid passes for entry into nightclubs and mass events in England.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 1:54 pm

Boris Johnson suffered the biggest rebellion since he took power as almost 100 Tory MPs voted against his Covid Plan B – including Mansfield MP Coun Ben Bradley and Ashfield MP Lee Anderson..

The measures introduce mandatory Covid passes in England, forcing people to prove their Covid-19 vaccination status or a recent negative test to gain entry to nightclubs and large venues.

The new health restrictions only passed in the Commons thanks to the support of Labour, with leader Sir Keir Starmer saying it was his ‘patriotic duty’ to back them.

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Lee Anderson, Ashfield MP, in the House of Commons in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster.

However, the Prime Minister failed to quell a rebellion in his own party as a large number of Tory backbenchers defied the whip to vote against him.

The measures passed by 369 votes to 126, with the rebels including 96 Tory MPs.

Coun Bradley, Nottinghamshire Council leader, announced he would vote against the plan last week, saying: “Precautions are one thing, but when you start to restrict peoples’ freedoms, like with vaccine passports, you need good data and evidence to support it.

“There are clearly risks and there always will be risks for as long as there is Covid, but we can’t keep turning the taps on and off.”

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Mr Anderson today shared a lengthy explanation of his decision on his Facebook page.

He said: “Small businesses and local independent traders have struggled over the past 18 months and I want to see them thrive and be able to make a good living.

“I felt these new restrictions could have led to future restrictions which would affect the livelihoods of thousands of people throughout Ashfield.

“I don’t want to see schools, colleges, pubs, gyms, shops etc. closed again I want to see us living our lives, but in a safe way where we can all play our part in beating the virus.

“We must not be held hostage to this virus. We will beat Covid by being vigilant, getting our booster jabs and being respectful of each other.”

Fellow Conservative MPs Mark Spencer, Sherwood MP and the Government’s Chief Whip, and Mark Fletcher, Bolsover MP, both voted with the Government.

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