Last week I wrote an article asking you, our readers and members, to contact your MP and make your feelings regarding 'Plan B' known to them.
Today votes were held in Parliament on a number of different measures, such as:
In short these votes were in favour of the return of the mask mandate, restricting access to venues and large gatherings unless presenting a covid pass showing either proof of double (soon triple) jab or negative lateral flow test and mandatory vaccines for NHS workers.
Many of your MPs responded to the challenge and, whilst all three votes went in the government's favour thanks, in part, to a complicit 'opposition', Conservtive rebels gave the government a bloody nose.
At the time of writing*, 40 Conservative MPs voted against the return of mandatory face masks, 99 Conservative MPs voted against the covid passport and 63 Conservative MPs voted against mandatory jabs for NHS workers. In all 3 cases there were also a number of abstentions (46, 36, 38 in that order), most notably from chancellor and cabinet member Rishi Sunak, who is tipped to be a front runner in any ensuing leadership contest and who may have been looking to prevent his card being marked on these key, constitutional, issues.
Whilst it is unlikely, had Labour decided to oppose, that quite so many Consevative MPs would have elected to vote against the government (not wishing to potentially bring down their own party), the fact that Labour chose to abrogate their responsibility to be in opposition gave Conservative dissenters a free hand and this has exposed, once again, the deep constitutional divisions within the Conservative party. Most sensational is the suggestion from Sir Geoffrey Clinton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 committee, that this opens up the possibility of a leadership challenge in the new year, "That's got to be on the cards."
Whilst we may have lost these votes on this occasion, and we didn't doubt this would be the case, what it has done, as I highlighted in my previous article, is begin a conversation between you and your MP that you should look to build upon and strengthen as future issues, local and national, come to your attention. It has demonstrated that there are a number of MPs whom we can rely upon to champion British values, those outlined on our website, and it has demonstrated to others who may have been on the fence, that there is significant support both among their peers and their constituents for the preservation and continuance of conservatism (small 'c' intentional).
Please review the below links for the results of each division and take the time to follow up with your MP, regardless of the way they ultimately voted, either to thank them, or to politely request that they do better next time. I believe that 'Plan B' is not the end and we may need more MPs to stand against 'Plan C' (and so on) in the future, either such that 'Plan C' can not be considered by an embattled party leadership, or such that it is defeated in the division lobby if need be.
*Tweets from Steve Baker indicate that tallies may not be quite correct