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World News

Shaping up for a rebellion? UK parliament to debate coronavirus curfew

A man sells face masks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on a street in Manchester, Britain October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Molly Darlington

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s parliament will debate and vote on Tuesday on a 10 p.m. curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants in England, a measure the government says is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, but which critics say is harming the hospitality industry.

The curfew was introduced across England last month, and has swiftly become a focus for anger in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, with many saying there is no evidence for a measure that could end up forcing local pubs and restaurants out of business.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons lower house of parliament, said the debate would come on Tuesday, setting the scene for a possible showdown between government and so-called rebels in the governing party.

“The government took the decision to move the debate to the floor of the house in recognition of the level of demand for the debate, so we are being responsive to what is being asked for and ensuring proper scrutiny,” Rees-Mogg told parliament.

Johnson has been criticised for his response to the coronavirus crisis, which is spiking again across much of the country and especially in northern England. He has said September’s restrictions were necessary to slow the spread.

But the main opposition Labour Party and some members of his party say those measures have done little to curb the increase in cases, calling on the government to provide parliament with the scientific and medical thinking behind them.

Reporting by Elizabeth, editing by William James

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