Sunday, 14 August 2022 – 21:08

‘Plan B’ passes the House of Commons

The government’s ‘Plan B’ coronavirus restrictions pass the House of Commons after Keir Starmer’s Labour votes to back the new measures.

The new measures were announced by the prime minister last week, and will now come into force from tomorrow (Wednesday 15th December). The plans had required Labour support after a large backbench Conservative rebellion saw nearly 100 Conservatives vote against the prime minister.

The plan was backed by 369 votes to 126.

Keir Starmer yesterday gave an address on national television stating that he would support the measures in the national interest, ensuring that the bill passed, despite major Conservative opposition.

More than 80 backbench Conservative MPs had said they would vote against the bill, with the Liberal Democrats also opposing the Covid passes that would be introduced.

The less controversial vote this evening – mandatory vaccination for all NHS staff – also passed with Labour support; 385 MPs backed the measures, with 100 voting against.

 

What does ‘Plan B’ mean?

Earlier in the year, the government had announced that as part of its COVID-19 Autumn and Winter Plan, a set of measures that would be brought in “if the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure”.

These plans, known as plan B, were more stringent rules that would help ease the pressure on the NHS if numbers of infections were to rise rapidly again. Although drawn up before Omicron, the highly infectious variant had seen the government indicate these plans would be activated, something that Boris Johnson confirmed last week.

Plan B includes:

Reintroducing guidance to work from home, if you can, from 13 December

Legally mandating face masks in “most public indoor venues”, including theatres and cinemas, with exceptions “where it’s not practical, including while eating, drinking, exercising or singing”.

NHS COVID passes for nightclubs, unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people

Daily testing for people identified as a contact of a coronavirus case – with isolation required only for people who test positive

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