The planned extension of the lockdown in England is causing great discontent within Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party. Many Conservative MPs have made it clear that this is the last time they will support the government in such a vote, insiders say.
The government introduced a strict lockdown at the beginning of this year and has gradually relaxed it in recent months. Johnson had hoped to remove the last restrictions on June 21. That date had already been labelled ‘Friday Day’ in British media, but this week it turned out that the Prime Minister is not yet daring a full reopening of society.
The government is concerned about the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, which has first appeared in India. Johnson is extending the lockdown by four weeks so that millions of extra Britons can receive a second dose of a corona vaccine. This could potentially save thousands of lives.
Critics point to the economic consequences of that decision. Many companies would be on the brink of collapse. This concerns, for example, nightclubs, which have been closed for fifteen months and now have to postpone their reopening. The national government only decides on the corona measures in England, where most Britons live. Areas such as Wales and Scotland have their own health policies.
Parliament has the right to vote on the extension of the UK lockdown on Wednesday. Despite the unrest in his own ranks, Johnson probably has little to worry about the outcome of that vote. Opposition party Labor supports extending the corona measures, although it does accuse Johnson that he has not done more to keep the delta variant out of the door.
However, insiders expect that many conservative parliamentarians will vote against it. There are also said to be “a lot of” conservatives who agree with the “rebels” but are not yet willing to resign Johnson publicly. A government source said it would likely be the last time the party will support Johnson in extending the lockdown.