Number 10 faces Commons revolt on 10pm pub curfew as it is accused of ‘dirty tricks’ tactics in attempt to AVOID a vote
Tory MPs are set to mount a new revolt over the unpopular 10pm pub curfew tonight – if the Government lets them.
Ministers were embroiled in a dirty tricks row this afternoon after attempting to axe a planned vote on whether to keep the law that forces drinking holes to close early.
They want to include it in a wider vote on the Prime Minister’s new lockdown tier system unveiled yesterday, meaning that if it is defeated, the whole system would collapse.
It came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted to MPs that the 10pm curfew was a ‘policy choice’ rather than a scientific imperative.
MPs had a briefing with Jonathan Van-Tam on the 10pm curfew yesterday. Pressed repeatedly for the scientific justification for the curfew, sources told MailOnline the deputy chief medical officer said: ‘That was a policy decision not a scientific one.’
No10 told reporters today there would be no separate vote on the curfew tonight as was expected.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted to MPs that the 10pm curfew was a ‘policy choice’ rather than a scientific imperative.
Ministers were embroiled in a dirty tricks row this afternoon after attempting to axe a planned vote on the curfew. They want to include it in a wider vote on the Prime Minister’s new lockdown tier system unveiled yesterday
Instead they expert it to be bundled into a vote on the while Level 1 Medium tier of Boris Johnson’s new lockdown measures.
Despite the claims from No10, the Speaker’s Office has been making clear to MPs that the votes on curfew and other coronavirus measures will be taken separately.
Tory MP Peter Bone said it would be ‘extraordinary’ if the government tried to avoid a separate vote on the controversial move.
Mr Hancock this afternoon defended the curfew as he faced sceptical Tory backbenchers.
‘We already now have evidence from accident and emergency departments that we’ve seen a reduction in alcohol-related admissions late at night after the 10pm curfew,’ he said.
‘This is both important in its own right but it’s also a proxy as a measure of how much people are drinking late at night, and therefore is evidence there is less mixing and less drinking late at night.’
The Health Secretary said people are largely mixing outside after 10pm, adding: ‘They would otherwise be mixing inside the premises – it’s just easier to photograph outside.’
He added the Government also needs to reduce the amount of social contact to control the virus, explaining: ‘We’re trying to protect as much as is possible education and protect as much as is possible work, essentially that leaves socialising as the other part of life, of activity where people transmit the virus.
‘And so it is therefore understandable that governments around the world and around this United Kingdom, governments of all different political persuasions have all come to broadly the same conclusion that it is necessary to restrict socialising because that way we reduce the transmission with the least damage to education and the economy.
‘So while there is both direct and approximate evidence for the positive impact of this measure, there is also the strategic point which is if we want to control the virus and we weren’t to do this, we’d have to do something else and we want, as a matter of policy choice, to protect education and protect work.’