Reports have emerged that up to 50 rebel Conservative MPs have now formed a new backbench group to protest the newest lockdown restrictions across the country. UNN’s Oliver Down understands that the former chief whip Mark Harper and ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker will spearhead the ‘Covid Recovery Group (CRG)’ as chairman and deputy chairman respectively.
It is understood that the CRG has significant backing after it has also recruited a number of prominent senior backbenchers including Sir Graham Brady. In addition to this, by last night 50 Tory MPs had formally joined the anti-lockdown group as well as a further 45 MPs considering signing up after joining the CRG WhatsApp group.
The group plans to challenge the scientific advice provided by government health officials after, as reported by Oliver Down on a live stream on Monday, it emerged that charts used to justify England’s second national lockdown had been overstated. They will also campaign to stop any attempt by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to extend the nationwide lockdown when measures lift on the 2nd of December.
The group’s chairman has said: “The Covid Recovery Group will play its part in helping the government to deliver an enduring strategy for living with the virus, so that we break the transmission of the disease, command public support, end this devastating cycle of repeated restrictions and start living in a sustainable way until an effective and safe vaccine is successfully rolled out across the population”.
Harper also set out the Covid Recovery Group’s “three guiding principles”, which urge the government to: ‘Undertake and publish full cost-benefit analysis of restrictions on a regional basis’ to ‘end the monopoly on advice of government scientists’ as well as to ‘improve the current measures to tackle the virus, including significantly boosting the performance of the NHS Test and Trace programme and expanding the NHS’ surge capacity’.