Will Tories rebel against extension of English lockdown to July 19?

Staying closed: many businesses may be forced to remain closed for a further four weeks – unless Tory backbenchers ruin Boris Johnson’s plans. But will he welcome that?

Well, there it is.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce an extension to the English lockdown, meaning most remaining restrictions won’t be lifted until July 19.

There are good grounds to do so:

Many scientists have called for the reopening to be delayed to enable more people to be vaccinated and receive second doses, amid rising cases of the Delta variant.

A delay would also allow more work to be done on whether vaccines are breaking, or simply weakening, the link between infections and hospitalisations.

But it is possible that the plan will face resistance – from Conservative backbenchers who are sick of the demand that we all wear masks when we go out, observe social distancing and keep some businesses closed, harming the economy.

On the last point, the BBC provides these examples:

If the lifting of restrictions is pushed back, the UK Weddings Taskforce – an industry group – estimates that 50,000 weddings planned in the four weeks from 21 June could be cancelled, with the industry losing £325m for every week of delay.

UKHospitality, which represents pubs, bars and restaurants, said businesses faced losing £3bn in sales if the relaxation of restrictions is delayed by a month.

The Night Time Industries Association said businesses such as nightclubs had already spent millions preparing to reopen, and the association will legally challenge any delay to reopening.

But the BBC also reports that projections based on the current trend show that if the current rate of increase continues, there could be 15,000 new cases per day – at least – by June 21. That’s double the number on June 13.

Ignoring that could be a public relations disaster for Johnson, who has been vilified as a dimwit for failing to acknowledge the warnings and delaying previous lockdowns, thereby assuring the deaths of thousands of people who might otherwise have avoided infection.

Still, collective responsibility for such recklessness is better for Johnson than having the blame piled on his shoulders alone, so he may welcome a vote that defeats his extension plan.

After all, how many of you will remember if your MP votes to end lockdown too soon? How many of you will even check what your MP does?

Source: Covid: Lockdown easing in England to be delayed by four weeks – BBC News

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