Freedom Day will NOT be delayed beyond July 19 and face mask laws WILL be scrapped, Matt Hancock tells MPs

FREEDOM Day will NOT be delayed beyond July 19 and face mask laws WILL be scrapped after that, Matt Hancock told MPs this afternoon.

The Health Secretary confirmed that covid regulations and laws would be extended until midnight on July 18.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

The laws would then fall away – meaning the end of masks on trains and buses, and fines for not covering up.

It's not yet clear if they will have to be kept in other places like shops, or indoor venues.

Mr Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon: "The regulations themselves, we put this pause in affect by amending the expiry date, so they expire at midnight on the evening of 18 July.

"We also need to align the dates on several other Covid regulations which are essential for keeping us safe… for face coverings on public transport, the regulations which give powers to manage local outbreaks… and the regulations that give local authorities the powers to enforce Covid secure measures for businesses.

"These will all be extended until midnight on the 18 July.

"We don't want to extend these regulations a day longer than we have to."

Boris Johnson is braced for the embarrassment of relying on Sir Keir Starmer to ram his Freedom Day delay past mutinous Conservative rebels in Parliament tonight.

Lockdown-hating Tories are marshalling MPs to oppose the PM's decision to kick back the date, but the vote is set to sail through the Commons on the backs of Labour support.

Despite blasting ministers for leaving the borders "like a sieve" and letting the Indian super-strain run riot in Britain, Sir Keir has grudgingly thrown his weight behind the four-week delay.

MPs will at 7pm tonight vote to renew the emergency pandemic laws that expire at the end of the month.

The Covid Recovery Group of backbenchers have been a thorn in the Government side throughout the pandemic but have so far failed to land a significant blow on the PM.

Fifty-five Tories rebelled against Mr Johnson's third lockdown in December – enough to overturn his 80-seat majority – but the threat was wiped out by Sir Keir ordering his MPs to vote with the Government.

Tory MPs complain that they are the only ones providing real opposition to ministers during the crisis and the latest delay to unlocking.

The PM has insisted July 19 is the "terminus date" when all legal restrictions on lockdown will be torn up.

But critics fear Brits will never be free from lockdown and Mr Johnson will kick the can down the road once more.

Tory MP Charles Walker said he has lost all faith in the PM's promise to lift lockdown on July 19 at the latest.

He fumed:  "I think we're now going to see the reversing of the irreversible roadmap. And that's when this is all going to hit the fan."

Yesterday Jacob Rees-Mogg showed the first signs of Cabinet dissent as he warned against restrictions that "never end".

He said: “You can't run society just to stop the hospitals being full.

"Otherwise you’d never let us get in our cars and drive anywhere or do any of the other things that people want to do. There has to be some proportionality.

"The Government doesn’t have the right to take charge of peoples' lives purely to prevent them seeing the doctor.

"Otherwise we’d never be allowed in our kitchens, would we, where a disproportionate number of accidents in the home take place, or in our bathrooms? So we’d become very hungry and very smelly on that basis."

    Source: Read Full Article