What Britain Talks About This Week – Conservative MP Defection | End of Plan B Covid Restrictions | Prince Harry UK Security | Blue Monday | Kill the Bill

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Christian Wakeford, MP for Bury South, Defects to Labour from the Conservatives in Opposition to PM Boris Johnson

In a dramatic move, Tory MP Christian Wakeford crossed over to the side of the Labour party on 19th January 2022 citing ‘best interests’ for his constituents in his resignation letter. He also sent a letter of no confidence to the Conservatives’ 1922 Committee before this announcement.

Despite his clear disagreements with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Downing Street party gate and plan B restrictions, this move came as quite a shocker.

Mr Wakeford becomes the first Tory in 15 years to cross the floor of the Commons to sit on the benches with Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour party.

However, Labour Party activists including Lucy Burke who was the 2019 Labour Candidate when Mr Wakeford won by 402 votes, revolted and has demanded a by-election calling the turncoat move undemocratic.

In a recent revelation, Mr Wakeford also said he was threatened over Bury high school funding if he did not vote a certain way. The blackmail made him question his place within the Conservative Party.

Most Plan B Covid Restrictions Come to an End in the UK – End of Covid Passport and Mask Mandate & NHS Staff Protests Against Covid Vaccine Mandate

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, confirmed in the House of Commons, that the Government is taking a ‘different path’ and Plan B restrictions for Covid will be allowed to expire on 26 January in the UK.

Compulsory self-isolation for people with Covid shall remain as part of Plan A and will continue until March 24th.

The PM said, ‘data is showing, time and again, this Government got the toughest decisions right’, announcing that people will no longer be told to work from home from Thursday next week and a mandatory Covid certificate will not be required.

Even wearing masks shall no longer be mandated as the PM declares:

“…we will trust the judgement of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear them.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid called it ‘a moment we can all be proud of’ and in support of the move, Richard Tice, Leader of Reform party UK, called the end of Plan B restrictions – a good riddance.

However, the British Medical Association (BMA) expressed concern that the Prime Minister’s announcement risks creating a false sense of security while the NHS is still under crippling pressure.

Amidst the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party questioned whether PM Boris Johnson was acting in the interest of public health or to protect his job.

And NHS workers are protesting and fighting to have the Covid vaccine mandate removed for their profession to continue to work for the NHS while making their own choices about the vaccine. Many have come forward voicing their concerns:

The NO JAB NO JOB debate is heating up as the deadline for all NHS workers to make their final decision on having the vaccine is the 1st of April 2022.

Protests were staged by some NHS workers on Saturday the 22nd of January in London and other UK cities:

How Twitter Brightened Up Blue Monday, the Most Depressing Day of the Year

The 3rd Monday of a new year has been notoriously labelled as the ‘most depressing day of the year’ aka Blue Monday. This year, the dreaded day was on the 17th of January with even more ‘blue’ to deal with.

With some obvious issues arising from the combination of gloomy winter, deflated post-Christmas mood and the guilt of failed new year’s resolutions, this year had the added trauma of dealing with two years of Covid and its mental and physical effects.

Twitterati and prominent brands did not miss the opportunity and tried their best to chase away the Monday blues with jokes, memes and in some cases, stunning pictures.

Red Bull Racing shared some happy photos of Max Verstappen, 2021 Formula One World Champion.

The Premier League did not hold back on sharing some funny game moments for the fans.

And while businesses held giveaway contests or advertised in the name of ‘Blue Monday’ on social media, many referred to the term as a ‘load of rubbish’ or ‘misleading’.

Prominent English Comedian Rob Beckett said the big companies and media exploit the day to convince people to buy their stuff. He jokingly asked readers to buy his book instead.

Prince Harry in a legal battle with the Home Office to Pay for his Police Protection in the UK

In a recent statement, the Duke of Sussex said he and the Duchess want to pay for the UK police protection for themselves and their two children, Archie, and Lilibet but the request has been denied by the Home Office.

He has sought a judicial review of the decision as ‘in the absence of such protection, they are unable to return home.

Royal editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Omid Scobie, shared the full statement from Prince Harry’s legal representative.

The Prince and his wife, Meghan Markle were stripped of police security when they left their Royal duties behind in 2020. He said their current personally funded US security ‘cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK’.

The Duke of Sussex argued that ‘his security was compromised’ when he visited the UK last time for unveiling the statue of his mother, Princess Diana and that he isn’t willing to put his wife and children at risk.

Former Chief Crown Prosecutor, Nazir Afzal tweeted that the prince should be commended for not relying on public money, unlike other royals.

Political and Women’s Rights Activist, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu expressed her outrage at the irony of the situation where Prince Harry is being disallowed to receive security at his own expense.

But many Brits remain against granting police protection to the Sussexes. TV Presenter and Political Commentator Patrick Christys said Prince Harry is ‘just a Hollywood celebrity now’ and ‘is simply not entitled to police protection.

New Police & Crime Bill has Sparked a Series of ‘Kill the Bill’ Protests across the UK to Protect Human Rights

A new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill is being termed as a draconian attack on human rights due to many controversial clauses and protest laws backed by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The House of Lords rejected several late amendments that included plans to give police the power to stop and search peaceful protestors without suspicion, create protest restricting/banning orders, and making ‘locking on’ an offence amidst a surge of ‘Kill the Bill’ protests across the UK.

Socialist and Trade Unionist, Howard Beckett, urged protestors to keep the pressure on to defeat the Bill.

Priti Patel blamed the Labour Party who voted against the amendments for choosing to defend vandals and thugs.

Activists have taken to the streets in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, and other cities to take a stand on the democratic ‘right to protest’.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll participated in the rally in Newcastle saying the Bill is about ‘taking away our rights to protest’.

The Bill has already suffered a series of humiliating defeats, the latest on January 17th in the House of Lords but the Government argues that it is in response to the disruptive protests held in 2019 (Extinction Rebellion) and 2020-2021 (Insulate Britain).

Oliver Dowden, Chairman of the Conservative Party has stressed that he continues to #BacktheBill.

The legislation is set to return to the House of Commons to be debated and voted on again. It will become a law only after an agreement is reached between both houses.

And that’s a wrap for another week of debates, decisions and trending discussions.

Post curated by Nidaa Koreishi & Manuela Willbold

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