Tory Backbenchers Form Alliance to Oppose Future Lockdowns

November 11, 2020 Updated: November 11, 2020

A number of UK Conservative party backbenchers formed a group to fight future lockdowns, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces growing rebellion against the current measures to stem the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The new Covid Recovery Group announced on Tuesday that it is chaired by former Junior Minister and Chief Whip Mark Harper, who said he voted across the party line for the second time in fifteen years last week, against the second national lockdown in England.

England has been under a four-week national lockdown since Nov. 5. People are told to stay at home unless they cannot work from home, and businesses considered non-essential are forced to close.

MPs on Nov. 4 voted 516 for and 38 against the lockdown, 32 of the against votes were by Conservatives. Among the 21 who abstained, 19 are Conservatives.

“Pleased to announce the new Covid Recovery Group,” Harper wrote in a post on Twitter, “The country is badly in need of a different strategy for living with the virus that doesn’t require us to keep living under a series of damaging lockdowns and arbitrary restrictions.”

The Telegraph said 50 Tory MPs had officially joined the group by Monday night, and 45 more MPs were considering.

Epoch Times Photo
Conservative MP Steve Baker leaves an event where Boris Johnson was announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party, in central London, on July 23, 2019. (Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

The group has three principles, Steve Baker, one of the group’s steering committee members, told Times Radio.

The first one is that “the government must undertake and publish full cost benefit analyses of restrictions on a regional basis.”  Baker said it is to make sure that the cure isn’t worse than the disease.

The second aim of the group is to end “monopoly advice” to the government.

“Anyone can see that scientists disagree with one another. Scientists are only human. There’s a huge amount of uncertainty, difference of opinion about the interpretation of data,” Baker said, he added that he had published papers proposing “competitive multi-disciplinary advice” and teams to challenge the advice.

The government has relied heavily on advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which has provided scientific and technical advice to support government decision-makers during emergencies since 2009.

“We have been guided by the advice of experts from SAGE from the outset and our response has helped to ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed,” a government spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an earlier email.

However, a growing number of other scientists and medical professionals argued against using blanket lockdowns to combat the virus, in dispute of the advice that SAGE has provided.

The third principle, Baker said, is to shift resources to local public health teams in order to improve the performance of measures including the Test and Trace programme.

The opposition Labour party has repeatedly urged the government to hand over the lead of Test and Trace to local teams, but Labour does support national lockdowns.

No. 10 Downing Street has not responded to The Epoch Times request for comment at the time of publishing.