MP Daniel Kawczynski slams Plan B Tory rebels as 'irresponsible'

A Shropshire MP has condemned as “irresponsible” fellow Conservatives who voted against Covid Plan B measures in a vote in the House of Commons.

Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski said: “It is highly irresponsible of some members to seek to undermine the Government when they have not been party to the advice that the Prime Minister and ministers have been receiving from our top scientists and medical experts.

“I supported the Government in all the voting divisions. They were not proposing to do these things lightly.”

Mr Kawczynski added: We are faced with another imminent surge in infections from the new variant of coronavirus which is highly transmissible, with a doubling time in infections of about two days.

"The evidence currently suggests that two vaccinations only gives about 40 per cent protection after a number of months against this variant, although this rises to about 80 per cent protection with the booster.

"Preliminary data from South Africa seems to show that the new variant is only about 70 per cent as dangerous as the original Alpha variant of coronavirus. However, the large number of expected infections suggests that we will probably have a significant number of hospital admissions in the New Year at the same time that hospital staff are off sick with the new variant.

"In order to ensure that our hospitals in Shropshire can continue to deliver services, I have supported the Government’s proposals, which have cross party support. I consider these to be necessary and proportionate."

He added: "Despite incorrect media reports, there is not a requirement for a Covid passport. In order to enter large gatherings, demonstrating a negative Covid test also permits entry.

"I share concerns about us sliding into a society in which papers need to be shown to those in authority. That is not the British way of doing things and I expect that these measures will be rescinded as soon as possible.

"I am also deeply concerned about the impact of these measures on the most vulnerable in our society, including those with disabilities and the elderly, who may have difficulty accessing the booster. It is vitally important that we have the highest quality hospital services and I will continue to pressure the Department of Health to release the first tranche of funding to modernise hospital services in Shropshire in the coming year."

Last night a series of measures put forward by the Government were signed off in the Commons despite a sizeable Tory backbench rebellion.

Nearly 100 Conservative MPs defied the whip to vote against the introduction of mandatory Covid passes to access nightclubs and large venues.

The measures passed the Commons with the support of Labour, who back tighter controls.

The Government also had the support of Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, who is a former heath minister. Before the vote he said: “I am going to be voting for the measures this evening.”

He did not support calling measures to control entry into some nightclubs “vaccine passports”.

“We are not voting on vaccine passports," he said.

“We’re voting on whether in very limited circumstances in nightclubs and very large venues people should be required to show that they’ve not got Covid by having done a lateral flow test that day or showing that they have had the vaccine. This has been happening in real events right across the country already.

"I went to the Glasgow COP conference last month and we had to show we had a lateral flow test before we had admission. This is not a significant imposition on our freedoms,” Mr Dunne continued.

“People are concerned that this could be the thin end of the wedge towards a vaccine passport system and that’s what people are most concerned about but I don’t think that’s what this is.

"They are talking about taking some proportionate measures to deal with what is becoming a very rapid increase in this new variant.”

Mr Dunne added that in Parliament on Monday MPs has been told that Omicron infections are doubling almost every two days.

He said measures such as wearing face coverings were to “try to buy some time to allow the vaccination of the adult population through a massive vaccination exercise over the coming three weeks”.

Telford MP Lucy Allan said she would also be supporting the Government’s “modest measures” which automatically expire in January.

She said: “Basic certification (or showing a negative lateral flow test) as a precondition to enter venues such as nightclubs is not a significant imposition and will allow the Government to keep venues open throughout the Christmas period.

“I do not think it creates a “two-tier” society to ask those who wish to attend large events to demonstrate either a negative test or that they have been vaccinated. We must not forget how leisure and hospitality were so adversely impacted by the earlier waves of the pandemic.”

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard said: "I was very reluctant to vote for Plan B, but did so, hoping it will protect lives and the NHS and avoid instituting Plan C, which would also damage jobs and more livelihoods."

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