UK MPs back COVID passes despite Conservative revolt

The new coronavirus restrictions, seen as necessary to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant, passed on Tuesday thanks largely to the main opposition Labour Party.

Almost 100 Conservative lawmakers voted against the measures, piling pressure on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who's already under fire over scandals such as reported parties in his Downing Street office last year - when Britain was in a COVID-19 lockdown - and a pricey refurbishment of his apartment.

After a day of frenzied failed lobbying, Johnson was handed the biggest rebellion against his government so far by his party over some of the measures that included ordering people to wear masks in public places and use COVID-19 passes for some venues.

Many of his lawmakers say some restrictions are draconian, with several questioning the introduction of a certificate of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter some venues, such as night clubs. After the votes were finally tallied 98 Conservatives had opposed the passes, a much higher number of rebels than was expected.

Others used the votes as an opportunity to vent their anger at Johnson, believing the man who helped the Conservatives win a large majority at a 2019 election is squandering the party's successes by self-inflicted missteps and gaffes.

But despite the rumblings of discontent, Conservative Party insiders say there is not enough of a groundswell against Johnson to dislodge him now, although they hope the vote will be a "wake-up call" for the prime minister to reset his agenda.

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