Some 60 Tory MPs are now believed to be backing an amendment put forward by 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady which would require a vote on new rules to be held ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’.
They are hoping to secure a vote on the amendment on Wednesday when ministers ask Parliament to formally renew their emergency coronavirus powers.
But the Government is said to believe that the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will rule that the amendment is ‘out of scope’ and therefore no vote on it will take place.
The Sunday Telegraph said that Mr Johnson is set to rebuff calls for the Government to offer votes on future rules of its own volition if the amendment is not selected.
That would effectively leave the Tory rebels with only the ‘nuclear’ option of voting against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act in order to make their point – something the vast majority of the 60 MPs will not want to do.
Conservative backbenchers are still hoping the Government will compromise as they said ‘it is no longer appropriate to curtail our freedoms by ministerial decree’.
The row over giving Parliament a vote on rules before they are rolled out came as Labour took a poll lead over the Tories for the first time since Mr Johnson became PM.
Boris Johnson is under pressure from Tory MPs to grant Parliament a vote on any new coronavirus restrictions before they are imposed
1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady has tabled an amendment which would require new rules to be voted on before they come into force
Sir Graham’s amendment is designed to grant MPs a vote on any new coronavirus restrictions proposed by the Government.
If it is selected by Sir Lindsay and 60 Tory MPs back it then Mr Johnson will face the real risk of having his 85-seat working majority overturned – should opposition parties also choose to support the move.
The Government is required to ask Parliament to renew the powers contained within the Coronavirus Act for another six months on Wednesday and the rebels are hoping Sir Lindsay will grant them a vote on Sir Graham’s amendment.
If the amendment is not selected and the Government refuses to budge it would effectively amount to the PM daring Conservative MPs to vote against renewing the Act.
The vast majority of the rebels are unlikely to be willing to go that far because torpedoing the renewal of the legislation would cause massive damage to the Government and restrict ministers’ ability to respond to the pandemic.
However, the rebels remain hopeful that a deal can be done with the Government to give Parliament more of a say over new restrictions.
Andrew Mitchell, the former Chief Whip, said: ‘When the chairman of the 1922 Committee leads a rebellion like this it would be an exceedingly careless Prime Minister that chose to ignore it.’
Sir Graham told the Observer that ‘it is essential that the House of Commons should have the opportunity to debate and vote on emergency measures before they come into force’.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Tory former Brexit minister Steve Baker said: ‘Covid-19 remains a dangerous disease for those vulnerable to it but it is now clear the position is not as catastrophic as feared.
‘It is no longer appropriate to curtail our freedoms by ministerial decree with only retrospective approval by Parliament, often after rules have been amended or repealed.’
The Tory rebellion came as a survey conducted by Opinium showed the Labour Party now has a poll lead over the Tories for the first time in this parliament.
Labour is now on 42 per cent of the vote share, up three points on a fortnight ago, with the Tories dropping three points to 39 per cent.
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