Why Hartlepool's MP Jill Mortimer is set to join Tory rebellion against Plan B Covid restrictions

Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer has said she “cannot support” the Government’s new Plan B coronavirus restrictions.

Saturday, 11th December 2021, 3:16 pm

The Government this week announced a number of regulations to try to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant.

They include an extension of mask-wearing (which began on Friday, December 10), a return to working from home on Monday, December 13, and mandatory Covid passports for large venues from Wednesday, December 15.

The new regulations will be put to a debate and a vote in the Commons in the coming week and are expected to be passed.

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Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer.

But a large number of Conservative MPs are expected to revolt, including Mrs Mortimer, who was elected in a by-election in May.

Posting on her official Facebook page on Friday, she said: “On the information currently available, I cannot support the Government’s Plan B.

“I encourage everybody to get their vaccines and booster jabs, which are our best defence against this virus.

“But vaccine passports for domestic use are inequitable and, more importantly, ineffective. There is no evidence that vaccine passports have stopped or significantly slowed the spread of Covid-19 in other parts of the world.

Boris Johnson is under pressure over reports of Christmas parties last year when Covid restrictions were in place. Picture: PA.

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“In Hartlepool, these additional restrictions would unnecessarily hurt local businesses, and place significant personal, medical and financial burdens on my constituents.”

Her comments came at the end of a week of huge public anger towards the Government over reports of parties against restrictions last Christmas.

Additional places where face coverings must now be worn include theatres, cinemas and places of worship, but not restaurants, bars, nightclubs and gyms.

From Wednesday, the NHS Covid Pass, on the NHS app, will become mandatory for entry into clubs and other large gatherings.

It applies to indoor events with 500 or more people, unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000, and any event with a crowd of more than 10,000.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted the measures were necessary to “build our collective defences” through the vaccination programme in the face of the rapidly-spreading Omicron.

But when asked on Friday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There’s no plans to go beyond what we’ve set out already.”

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