Covid Plan B restrictions like ‘Nazi Germany’ and Soviet ‘gulag’, say rebel Tory MPs

‘We are not a ‘papers please’ society. This is not Nazi Germany’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Monday 13 December 2021 14:36 GMT
Tory MP Marcus Fysh says Covid passes are 'like Nazi Germany'

Tory MPs have likened Covid restrictions to “Nazi Germany” and a Soviet “gulag” ahead of a huge revolt against Boris Johnson’s Plan B curbs.

Anger at the new rules – Covid passes to enter crowded venues and mask-wearing in cinemas and theatres – will force the prime minister to rely on Labour votes to get them through the Commons on Tuesday.

In extraordinary language, one rebel vowed to defy the prime minister by claiming the vote is the “thin end of an authoritarian” wedge threatening “a free society in this country”.

“We are not a ‘papers please’ society. This is not Nazi Germany,” Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh told BBC Radio 5 Live.

He lashed out at a presenter pointing out that many people feel unsafe in crowded venues as “not worthy of working for the BBC”, saying to such people: “Don’t go then”.

The comments come after Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers, accused his own government of “a disastrous assault on liberty”.

“Months when people were banned by law from seeing their children or grandchildren,” he wrote in a newspaper article.

“Businesses forced to close; the state not just telling people not to go to work but paying them not to. And yes, nearly half a year in which we went full Eastern Bloc and no one was allowed out.”

Sir Graham also condemned the Plan B measures ahead of Tuesday’s vote, saying: “There seems no let up to this kind of self-defeating, dystopian logic.”

“We were told these measures might be lifted before Santa took to his sleigh, and certainly before half the country was pinged into the gulag,” the Altrincham and Sale West wrote.

Around 70 Tory MPs have signalled they will vote against Covid passes for crowded venues – wrongly labelled “vaccine passports” by many, although a negative test result will also be allowed.

There are likely to be separate votes on that key controversy, on the extension of face covering rules and on requiring a daily negative test result to avoid isolation as the contact of a household member with Covid.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman, asked for his message to Tory rebels, said: “We are facing a tidal wave of omicron and these Plan B measures are a vital part of enabling us to buy time, so that we can get more of these booster doses in arms and provide the protection that will protect both lives and livelihoods.

On certification for crowded venues, he said: “It allows us to keep some of these settings open which is vital for hospitality, where otherwise we would have had no choice but to close them, which no one wants to see.”

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