Five Yorkshire MPs vote against the extension of coronavirus laws for further six months

Five Yorkshire MPs voted against the extension of coronavirus measures for a further six months tonight, but the Government regulations on coronavirus still passed comfortably.

Three of the region’s Conservative MPs rebelled to defy the Government over the prolonging of the “draconian” powers handed to ministers for a further six months.

Labour MPs Jon Trickett (Hemsworth) and Richard Burgon (Leeds East) also voted against but Mr Burgon earlier said he did not want to be grouped together with Tories who also opposed.

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Speaking in the Commons he said: “I share nothing with their extremist views on how to respond to this health crisis. Regardless of any tactical splits in the Conservative Party, the common thread between them has been an ideology that put profit before health.”

Handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Health Secretary Matt Hancock as MPs debated extending the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 in the House of Commons, London. Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Instead, he said he wanted to see the Government bring back a Bill which had more support for those struggling during the pandemic.

Conservatives meanwhile slammed Matt Hancock for failing to guarantee the powers to implement pandemic restrictions will be scrapped by October.

Yorkshire Tories David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden), Philip Davies (Shipley) and Julian Sturdy (York Outer) voted against the Government.

The Health Secretary was challenged over whether emergency measures contained within the Coronavirus Act 2020 will still be needed in six months given Boris Johnson’s road map to lift all restrictions in England from June 21.

Mr Hancock told the Commons he “cannot answer” whether the Government will be “retiring” the legislation in October or whether it will be rolled on.

Mr Hancock said: “There are parts of this Act that have allowed us to do good things that everybody would like to see like that, and so when we do come to retire this Act, which we must within one year and preferably within six months, we will need to make sure that we can continue to do that sort of thing and make sure that nurses can be enrolled as easily as possible into the NHS.

“But I cannot answer whether we will be retiring it in six months. My preference would be yes, but given the last year, I think a prediction would be hasty.”

Senior Conservative MP Mark Harper, chairman of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, said: “The controversial parts, the police powers to detain potentially infectious persons which have (been) used unlawfully on a number of occasions, it says in (Mr Hancock’s) letter, in the one-year review of the Act, that those are intended to be long-term powers – and he has also just suggested that these provisions might be rolled forward a further six months.

“That is why so many of us are worried. These are extraordinary provisions, not for normal times, and they should be expired at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Mr Hancock replied: “I actually agree with (Mr Harper) that they should be expired at the earliest opportunity.”

Conservative former minister Sir Desmond Swayne warned the renewal of emergency coronavirus powers could lead to “total social control”.

He said: “Did it ever occur to ministers that they might actually incentivise vaccinations? Carrot, not stick. Undoubtedly it didn’t, because they can’t kick the habit, they are wedded to the stick.”

Prior to the vote Mr Davies said that the success of the vaccine roll out should mean restrictions can be lifted, and he challenged the Prime Minister over the road map at Prime Minister’s Questions.

He said: “We were told we needed to stay at home until we had a vaccine as that was the way out of this pandemic. Now we have one of the fastest rollouts of the vaccine in the world but it seems Government is intent on moving the goalposts. The public should not accept this.”

The Government has insisted the lifting of measures needs to be cautious to ensure another lockdown is not needed.

In total, 35 Tories rebelled.

The extension of measures in the Act was approved by 484 to 76, majority 408.