Coronavirus: Scores of rebel Tory MPs launch anti-lockdown campaign group

The COVID Recovery Group will push to stop any extension to the national lockdown when it ends on 2 December.

Rebel Tory MPs opposed to England’s national lockdown have formed a powerful new campaign group to turn up the heat on Boris Johnson and his stance on COVID-19.

Ominously for the prime minister, they are led by a former chief whip Mark Harper, and Brexiteer Steve Baker, mastermind of parliamentary guerrilla campaigns.

And in a move that will ring alarm bells in Downing Street, the group also includes Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs.

The new group, mostly made up of Tory MPs who rebelled in the Commons vote last week to approve the current lockdown, is calling itself the COVID Recovery Group.

The MPs plan to challenge scientific advice provided by government medics and will campaign to defeat any attempt by Mr Johnson to extend the coronavirus lockdown when it ends on 2 December.

Mr Harper, who chairs the new group, said: “Last week I voted against a Conservative government for only the second time in my fifteen years in Parliament, which was not easy for a former chief whip.

“Lockdowns cost lives, whether in undiagnosed cancer treatments, deteriorating mental health, and missed A&E appointments – not to mention the impact it has on young people’s education, job prospects and our soaring debts.

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