Tory MP Reveals Accidental Non-Rebellion on Covid Passes

It seems Boris’s 80 seat majority has caused both Parliament and MPs to become rusty when organising rebellions. The record Covid passport rebellion on Tuesday night saw major difficulties in actually tallying how many Tory MPs had broken the whip. Initially there was confusion as the Labour whips said there were 101 Tory rebels, yet the official count tallied just 96 plus two tellers. Steve Baker went on a hunt for the missing characters, eventually turning them up as Desmond Swayne, Bob Seely and Pauline Latham, all three of whom have now been added to the official 101 rebellion vote count. Guido, however, has discovered number 102…

Yesterday Steerpike noticed a remarkable u-turn from Southampton Itchin MP Royston Smith. On Monday he tweeted of Covid passports:

When push came to shove, however, he found himself in the ‘aye’ voting lobby, as the government whips had wanted. His social media’s been conspicuously quiet since the vote. 

Guido’s since seen an email sent from Royston to a constituent claiming that, thanks to some procedural confusion, while he had planned on rebelling he found himself accidentally in the wrong voting lobby:

“Last night, there were to be four votes. I was supporting three but not the Covid Passports.

Vote number two was to change the rules from quarantine, for those in contact with a positive Covid case, to daily Lateral Flow Tests. Unbeknown to me there was unanimity on that measure and the House did not divide (vote). I was coming from another meeting and went into the Government lobby thinking I was voting for tests not quarantine (vote number two) and didn’t discover until afterwards that I was actually in the Government lobby voting for Covid Passports (vote number three).”

Smith confides that, while he understands and acknowledges “the disappointment you will feel… I can, with certainty, tell you it is nothing compared to the disappointment I feel in myself.” Another backbencher off Boris’s Christmas card list…

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Welsh Labour: Poor People Don’t Go to Football Matches

Now that vaccine passports are being extended to cinemas and sports fixtures across Wales, their impact on small businesses and low income families almost sparked a partisan brawl last night in the Senedd. Fortunately, Welsh Labour MS Jenny Rathbone was on hand to put the issue to rest… by insisting that low income people are too poor to be affected by the changes in the first place. 

Speaking in the chamber last night, Rathbone said:

“People on the lowest incomes are not able to go to the matches either the rugby, the football or the cinema. You know, let’s get real on this one.”

No need to worry, then.

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Hillary Clinton Demands Boris Mandate Vaccines
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Conference-Going Tory MS Fails to Block Senedd Vaccine Passport Vote

The Welsh government has copied the Scottish government in passing a vaccine passport law in the Senedd by a single vote yesterday. It’s now emerged that Tory MS Gareth Davies missed the session because he was at the party’s conference in Manchester. The new law will introduce mandatory vaccine passport checks (or evidence of a recent negative test) at large scale events and nightclubs across Wales. Apparently the Senedd had tried repeatedly to reach Davies leading up to the vote, yet “no one could get hold of him”…

Reacting to the news that he was, in effect, solely responsible for allowing the Welsh government to implement this law, Davies later said:

[I am] working and representing the group at the Conservative Party conference and I would have been able to vote remotely if I’d have been able to access the remote voting tools […] I am deeply upset, frustrated and angry at last night’s events and my inability to cast a vote against vaccine passports.”

Unfortunately for Davies, Welsh Labour’s Health Minister Eluned Morgan has insisted the vote won’t be re-run. Time for Welsh co-conspirators to get their papers ready then…

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Scotland Launching Vaccine Passports Tomorrow Despite Lack of App

The SNP’s vaccine passport scheme will go ahead tomorrow as planned, following a failed court bid from the Night Time Industries Association to block its “discriminatory” introduction – and despite the fact that, as of today, the user app to support the scheme still hasn’t launched. Which probably explains why Nicola Sturgeon has announced the rules won’t actually be enforced until October18…

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions today, Sturgeon said:

“All along, I’ve been very candid and clear: none of us want to be in this position, none of us want to having to take any of the steps we’ve had to take over 18 months now to seek to contain a virus, keep people safe and try to limit the health and other damage that this virus does. This is a targeted and proportionate way to try to reduce the harm that the virus can do over the winter months while keeping our economy fully open, fully functional and fully trading.”

Scottish Tory Leader Douglas Ross claimed that Sturgeon “must accept that the scheme is not ready and must be delayed”. If Labour Conference is anything to go by, perhaps he just needs to wait for a spot of bad weather

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Government’s 10-Month Vaccine Passport Flip-Flopping

The government’s had more positions on vaccine passports than the Kama Sutra, starting back in December 2020, with some flip-flops merely days apart. Guido’s compiled a best-of video. No doubt it’ll need adding to soon…

UPDATE: Downing Street sources pour cold water on the rumour going round that the espied meeting of the PM’s spin chief, Jack Doyle, and the chief whip, Mark Spencer, at No. 10 last night had anything to do with clarifying the exact line on vaccine passports following Javid’s comments on Marr yesterday. Reshuffle rumours were also denied…

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