Covid Sheffield: How city MPs voted on Covid passes as Plan B rules approved by Commons amid Omicron variant

MPs approved the Government’s plans to reintroduce some Covid-19 restrictions amid increasing concern about the Omicron variant.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 4:14 pm

Parliament passed the Plan B coronavirus rules – which involve regulations on face masks, isolation, Covid passes and compulsory vaccines for healthcare workers – in a vote yesterday.

Voting was mixed across the six Sheffield MPs.

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Miriam Cates MP.

Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, joined nearly 100 other Tory rebels in the biggest rebellion under Boris Johnson’s Government in voting against introducing Covid passes to enter venues.

Lousie Haigh, Labour MP for Heeley, Gill Furniss, Labour MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, and Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, voted in favour in all votes on the Government’s Plan B.

There was no vote recorded for Olivia Blake, Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, or Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central.

Ms Haigh said: “Labour were calling earlier in the year for measures like mask-wearing to remain mandatory and it seemed inevitable then that new restrictions would be necessary because the Government seemed to behave as if Covid didn’t exist anymore.

Gill Furniss MP.

“The new Covid variant is much more infectious than previous variants and steps must be taken to ensure we protect the NHS and the public this winter, that’s why I voted for the introduction of Plan B restrictions.

“Alongside these stronger restrictions I believe that vaccinations are the most effective public health intervention and everyone should get their booster jab and if they’ve not had their first or second jab, then book that as soon as possible.”

Ms Furniss said: “Last night I voted in favour of the new Plan B measures.

“With the new Omicron variant spreading quickly around the UK, I believe these measures are necessary in order to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed by people being hospitalised with Covid.

Louise Haigh MP.

“I understand and share the anger that so many people have towards the Government after they themselves were shown to break the rules last year, but I urge everyone to continue to follow these measures so we can save lives and protect the NHS.”

Speaking in Parliament ahead of the vote, Ms Cates said: “Freedom is not an abstract ideology. Freedom is what enables my constituents to see their family, to comfort the dying, to go to school, to go work. That is what freedom looks like and after 20 months of (in/out) restrictions we have to accept there has been a permanent change to the understanding of what liberty is in this country.

“That’s why I can’t support these measures and I urge the Government – return to a society of freedom and responsibility. Our constituents deserve it and they will rise to the challenge.”

What is Plan B?

The new rules mean that face masks are now compulsory in most public indoor venues other than hospitality, an NHS Covid Pass (obtained with a negative test or full vaccination) is mandatory in larger venues and people were encouraged to work from home where possible.