David Davis attacks ‘bogus’ coronavirus modelling and warns Tory revolt to DOUBLE in size

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Boris Johnson faces a growing revolt among his party’s backbenchers amid fury at “bogus” coronavirus modelling that justified the second lockdown in England this week. Tory MP David Davis warned the Prime Minister that “the size of the rebellion on the Tory benches will be much much bigger, probably twice as big” if the lockdown is extended past December 2. The former Brexit Secretary said the coronavirus modelling justifying a second lockdown is a “scandal”.

In a House of Commons vote on Wednesday, MPs supported the new coronavirus measures by 516 to 38, a majority of 478.

This means England is now under a month-long lockdown, with pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops closed until December 2.

However, a total of 34 Tory MPs rebelled against the lockdown, including former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers.

Another 21 Tory MPs abstained, including ex-Prime Minister Theresa May, who argued against the lockdown prior to the vote.

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David Davis told Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO: “The Prime Minister is told there will be 4,000 deaths a day if he carries on, and that this will overwhelm the health service.

“That is what the bogus numbers were.

“Under those circumstances, he has no chance but to go under lockdown. No Prime Minister will accept the collapse of the NHS and 4,000 deaths a day.

“But the truth is actually half or a quarter of that figure.

“If the Prime Minister was told that, he might have thought, on balance, it might be 1,000 deaths a day from coronavirus but going into lockdown might cause more deaths.

“They actually took the decision away from him. This is quite a scandal.

“The scientific advisers effectively put the Prime Minister in a no-win, no-choice position when in fact he did have options available to him.

“What it means is next time around, when we come to December 2, the size of the rebellion on the Tory benches will be much much bigger, probably twice as big.”


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Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer has already called for an extension of the lockdown if the R rate remains above one at the end of the month.

Tory MPs defended their revolt by citing an Oxford scientist who claimed the data produced at Boris Johnson’s weekend press conference was exaggerated and out of date.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said he believed slides shown at the press conference on Saturday suggesting deaths could reach 4,000 a day without further action were wrong.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the slides should not have been shown “because mathematically it is now proven to be incorrect, particularly the 4,000 estimate of deaths that would occur in December”.

Professor Heneghan added that the same data set had forecast 1,000 deaths by 1 November, whereas “only 200 actually occurred”.

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