In March, Conservative rebels are expected to demand an end to the self-isolation law.
MPs are likely to want remaining pandemic laws to ‘lapse’ in the spring, says Covid Recovery Group chair Mark Harper.
When the remaining pandemic regulations expire in March, it is expected that dozens of Conservative MPs will demand an end to Covid laws, including the legal requirement to isolate.
At the end of this month, MPs will demand an end to plan B restrictions, such as mask-wearing, Covid passports, and homeworking, according to Mark Harper, chair of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG), a group of lockdown-skeptic Tories.
Following that, the “sweet spot” for Tory MPs would be to let the remaining pandemic regulations “lapse” at the next review point on March 24, including the legal requirement for positive cases and unvaccinated close contacts to isolate.
It comes after more than 100 Conservatives protested the introduction of plan B restrictions last month, putting pressure on Boris Johnson not to introduce any more measures to combat the Omicron wave before Christmas.
The dominance of the milder Omicron variant now presents the Prime Minister with the opportunity for a “proper reset” on Covid-19, according to some of the rebels, who added that the UK could benefit from economic “first-mover advantage” if it were the first to lift all restrictions.
Mr Harper stated that “it’s pretty clear” that “everyone who voted against the measures in December will want plan B to end” by the end of January.
Despite the fact that some MPs want the government to go even further and remove all restrictions at that point, Mr Harper stated that “the obvious point to look at what we do with testing and self-isolation, as far as it being the law, is when that expires” at the end of March.
“At that point, the government must decide whether to let that legislation lapse or not. It would be reasonable for the government to begin having that conversation with the public in February, about not necessarily getting rid of asking people to self-isolate or test.”
“But should it be a law punishable by law, and to what extent do we ask people to test and self-isolate if they are asymptomatic and clearly healthy and not ill in the first place?”
“For colleagues, the sweet spot will be to.”
UK news summary from Infosurhoy