James Forsyth

The Brady amendment could spell trouble for Boris Johnson

The Brady amendment could spell trouble for Boris Johnson
Graham Brady (Getty Images)
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If opposition parties back it, the Brady amendment – which calls for parliamentary votes before nationwide Covid restrictions are introduced – will pass. The signatures to the amendment have just been published and there are enough Tories on the list to wipe out the government’s majority of 80

As I say in the magazine, both the rebels and Tory whips believe that the amendment will pass if the opposition parties do back it. So Boris Johnson is trying to assuage the rebels by offering more statements, more debates and more chances for MPs to question Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance. But these rebels want votes and so are unlikely to be satisfied by this.

One thing that is striking about the list of signatures is that this isn’t just libertarian Tories grumbling. The signatories span the Tory spectrum from Iain Duncan Smith to Damian Green, Philip Davies to Bob Neill and Steve Baker to Harriett Baldwin. Now there is a chance that the amendment will not be called for procedural reasons. But if it is – and no compromise can be found between No. 10 and the rebels – Boris Johnson will find himself relying on opposition votes to see it off, an uncomfortable place for any Prime Minister to be.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is political editor of The Spectator.

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