School closures: Parents slam Javid ahead of reopening confusion
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Jacob Rees-Mogg has put in place the necessary precautions to ask MPs to return to Westminster at short notice should they be needed. It comes amid mounting fears Boris Johnson is preparing for new restrictions to combat the Omicron variant.
Scientists have warned the Government urgent action must be taken to avoid the NHS being overwhelmed in January.
A short circuit-breaker lockdown is one option Mr Johnson is thought to be considering.
Ministers have promised MPs will get a vote before any new legal restrictions are put in place.
Mr Rees-Mogg last night told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour the House of Commons could quickly return should it be necessary.
He said: “Preparations are always made for a recall of Parliament.
“That is completely standard that Parliament should be able to reassemble at very short notice.
“That is a permanent part of the British constitution and quite rightly so.”
Refusing to be drawn on whether new restrictions were likely, he added: “Both Sajid Javid and Chris Whitty are saying they don’t know yet.
“I am not trying to make forecasts beyond anything they have said but if there were to be regulations of course Parliament would have to be recalled.”
Mr Johnson has called an urgent meeting of his Cabinet this afternoon to receive an update on Omicron.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab this morning said the data was being assessed “hour by hour”.
So far 12 people in Britain have died with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
There are also 104 people currently in hospital with the mutant strain.
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Asked whether the Government would impose further restrictions before Christmas, Mr Raab told Times Radio: “I just can’t make hard and fast guarantees.”
“In assessing the situation we rely very heavily on the real data coming through and it will take a little bit more time to assess this critical issue of the severity of Omicron.”
When Mr Johnson introduced new restrictions last week, including vaccine passports, the Government suffered a major rebellion from backbenchers.
The new public health measures only passed due to the support of Labour.
Sir Keir Starmer has already indicated he is ready to support more restrictions if required.
“We need to tackle the spread of Omicron, support businesses and protect public services,” he wrote on social media.
“Boris Johnson is too weak to provide the leadership our country needs.”
He added the Prime Minister was “too busy looking over their shoulders at the Conservative party to provide the leadership our country needs”.
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