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Previous story England faces regional COVID-19 restrictions despite lawmaker rebellion Next story
Published on December 6, 2020 12:30 AM

by William James, Michael Holden

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LONDON (Reuters) - Parliament approved a system of regional COVID-19 restrictions for England on Tuesday despite a rebellion within Prime Minister Boris Johnson's own party which underlined growing unhappiness at his handling of the pandemic.

More than 40% of people in England will be subject to the toughest tier of restrictions on their daily life from Wednesday, when the government shifts to its new approach after a month of national lockdown, with just 1% in the lowest band.

"With the spread of the epidemic varying across the country, there remains a compelling case ... for regional tiers in England," Johnson told parliament, batting away criticism from unhappy lawmakers.

The tiered system has ignited a rebellion in Johnson's party, with dozens of the 364 elected Conservatives criticizing the plan as draconian, badly implemented or based on insufficient evidence.

"If government is to take away fundamental liberties of the people whom we represent, they must demonstrate beyond question that they are acting in a way that is both proportionate and absolutely necessary," said lawmaker Graham Brady, head of an influential Conservative committee.