A Cornish MP has explained why he decided to join a Tory rebellion voting against new Covid restrictions being brought in by the Government.

Derek Thomas, representing St Ives and West Cornwall, was among 38 Conservative MPs who rebelled against Boris Johnson's Plan B laws, when they came before parliament last night.

Mr Thomas has now spoken out against the new Covid restrictions introduced by the Government, having voted against the introduction of vaccine passports and compulsory vaccinations.

In the House of Commons yesterday, MPs debated new restrictions proposed by the Government, including the introduction of Covid passes for venues and mandatory vaccines for NHS workers.

The Government’s new rules were supported by the Labour party, but a number of backbenchers showed opposition.


Mr Thomas said the government was introducing vaccine passes for nightclubs and other large venues "despite the evidence from Scotland that they neither stop the spread of Covid or drive uptake of vaccinations."

He said he had constantly opposed vaccine passports as he believed they were "a divisive measure with negligible public health benefits".

Mr Thomas said that he was also upset that the government was introducing mandatory vaccinations for NHS workers "without carrying out a full assessment of any staffing shortfalls that could arise."

He claimed some estimates were that the NHS could lose 70,000 members of staff, just at the time that they are needed most.

"Again, there is no evidence that vaccinating NHS workers would have any effect on the spread of Covid," he added.

"The management of public health during the pandemic is a matter of balancing different factors."

He acknowledged that there was a "need to take appropriate action to protect vulnerable people", but said he was concerned that the government was "ignoring those who are particularly affected by restrictions."

Mr Thomas told the House of Commons: “We seem to have a Health and Social Care Department that is consumed by Covid and has abandoned all other responsibilities, such as mental health, cancer, diabetes, social care, loneliness and isolation – a Department that is prepared to sack the NHS staff who care for patients.

“I heard the Secretary of State say that these measures will keep people safe and protect our liberties, but I am worried because that same care and compassion and support for the NHS does not seem to extend to other severe difficulties that our constituents face largely because of the Government’s having imposed restrictions to fight Covid.”

Speaking after the meeting, he added: "My motivation in speaking was to give voice to those who are not heard in this debate – people with learning difficulties who have lost their whole social network, cancer patients who are not being treated, children whose schooling is disrupted.

“Sometimes a public health emergency may outweigh their rights to a full life. But the government needs to prove that case – and, at the moment, they have not.”