10pm curfew UK: how long the rules for pubs and restaurants could last - and why MPs may vote against it
MPs who have signalled their opposition to the 10pm curfew will have to wait another week in order to vote on the policy, as Downing Street has confirmed that a vote will now take place next week, rather than today (7 October) as originally planned.
Why are MPs voting on the 10pm curfew?
A vote next week will decide whether the 10pm curfew for pubs and hospitality venues will be continued.
Many Conservate backbench MPs are expected to vote against the government.
It is not yet clear whether Labour will support the government, as Keir Starmer has stressed his “constructive” approach to opposition, though the party has been more critical of the 10pm curfew rules than other measures.
Conservative rebel Steve Baker said that there is a “consensus” among backbench MPs that “children should be excluded from the rule of six and that the 10pm curfew is not justified by evidence”.
He added: “I wouldn’t expect to win a vote on either issue. The reality is we need to persuade the Government on all these matters.”
Will the 10pm curfew be continued?
If the government is defeated on the 10pm curfew vote, then the legislation which forces bars and hospitality venues to close by 10pm will expire.
If the vote succeeds, the curfew will remain in place for at least a further two weeks, unless changes are made to the overall strategy for handling the virus.
While there is potential for a government defeat on the second vote if Labour decides to vote against the government, it is still considered relatively unlikely, given Boris Johnson’s 80-seat majority.
The hope among backbench rebels is that demonstrating their willingness to rebel against measures they find difficult to justify or don’t agree with will convince the government to make amendments and provide further evidence.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said that while the Prime Minister “understands the frustrations” regarding the measures, he “would urge all MPs to vote for it”.
He said: “The PM understands the frustrations that people have. But, as prime minister, he has to take a course of action that prevents the spread of the virus and therefore protects the NHS and saves lives.
“What we are seeking to do is to get the right balance between protecting lives and livelihoods: which is why we’re trying to keep as much of the economy moving as we can.”
The 10pm curfew has also prompted a legal challenge from the owner of London nightclub, G-A-Y, as he says the government “has failed to show why the 10pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation”.