BORIS Johnson has suffered the biggest revolt of his premiership as nearly 100 MPs rejected Covid passes.
Vaccine passports will be needed for nightclubs and football matches from tomorrow after MPs voted to approve the Prime Minister's Plan B for dealing wit the Omicron variant.
But the bruised PM suffered the biggest revolt of his premiership as almost 100 Tories rebelled against his crackdown to fight Omicron.
The scale of the mutiny forced him to rely on Labour support to ram the four new Covid rules through the Commons.
A whopping 98 Tories – wiping out the PM's majority – defied their leader to oppose the controversial measure.
In total some 126 MPs voted against, beaten by 369 giving Mr Johnson a majority of 243.
A senior Tories called the vote a "cry of pain" and another even suggested a challenge to Boris Johnson's leadership could be on the cards.
Charles Walker, the vice-chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee of Tory MPs said: "This was just a bridge too far.
"I think they were putting a marker down. It was a cry of pain from the Conservative Party.”
He described Boris Johnson as being in “a very, very, very difficult position”.
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“There has been a strong view in within the Conservative Party that vaccine passports do not work and is not something many colleagues wanted to see introduced,” he said.
"This is a very, very specific line being drawn in the sand now and I think the Prime Minister and his team need to listen."
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the committee's treasurer, was asked if there was now the prospect of a leadership challenge in the new year.
He replied: "I think that's got to be on the cards. He's got to realise that he's got to change."
From 6am people in England will have to prove they've either been double-jabbed or tested negative in the past 48 hours to enter "high-risk settings".
Anyone faking a test faces as much as a £10,000 fine.
Before tonight the biggest rebellion of Mr Johnson's tenure was when 55 Tories voted against his plan for regional tiers.
In key Covid developments tonight:
- People will be required to show Covid passes in crowded places
- Masks will remain compulsory in virtually all indoor settings
- NHS workers will be required to be vaccinated to continue working
- Daily lateral flow tests will replace isolation for close Covid contacts
- The travel red list will be scrapped and all 11 countries taken off
- The 15-minute waiting time post-jab will be scrapped
- Fears grew that pubs and restaurants will have to close after Christmas
- Scots were told to limit their mixing to just three households
Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted "we can't eliminate the risk of Covid-19 but we can reduce it, and these proposals offer a pragmatic way of doing this."
But the Health Secretary was mauled by his own side as lockdown-hating backbenchers tore strips off the measures.
Ex-Conservative health minister Steve Brine said "the concept of learn to live with Covid is as dead as anything I know".
Fearing it would be a slippery slope he fumed: "On the vaccine passport, I will not support that. I think it crosses a Rubicon.
"I think Italy began in exactly this way saying it was all about providing lateral flow tests, and I think it will move and move quite quickly".
Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne said the Government had morphed into a "Ministry of Fear" and was set on the path of more restrictions.
MPs also voted retrospectively by a whopping majority of 400 to approve the tougher mask-wearing rules that kicked in last Friday.
It means people are required to wear face coverings in virtually all indoor settings except for pubs, restaurants and gyms.
All Plan B measures – including working from home guidance that doesn't require a vote – will expire on January 26 and be reviewed on January 5.
NIGHTMARE AT CHRISTMAS?
But Mr Javid couldn't rule out snap restrictions being announced over the Christmas period at a moment's notice.
The Sun today revealed that secret plans are being drawn up to close pubs and restaurants in case Omicron cripples hospitals.
Nicola Sturgeon also turned the screw on Westminster by telling Scots to limit socialising to just three households over the Christmas break.
Downing Street said there are "no plans" for more curbs and are instead relying on the booster campaign to beat the variant.
More than half a million third jabs were delivered today as The Sun's Jabs Army campaign rallied volunteers to help the mission.
At a virtual Cabinet this morning Mr Johnson warned his top team to brace for a "high spike" of Omicron imminently.
Yesterday 4,713 there were confirmed cases of Omicron in the UK, although it's thought the number of daily infections was 42 times higher at around 200,000.
During tonight's vote MPs also gave the green-light for NHS workers to be required to be fully-vaxxed.
Mr Javid guaranteed he would never support blanket mandatory vaccination in this country.
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