Dozens of rebel Conservative MPs have launched a new group aimed at blocking the rollout of another national lockdown.
Former chief whip Mark Harper and Brexiter Steve Baker will lead the new Covid Recovery Group, while Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 committee, is also a member.
The group will argue for a different approach to the UK’s approach when current national restrictions end on 2 December.
The MPs, most of whom rebelled against the current lockdown last week, will challenge the scientific advice and call for more analysis of the economic damage.
“Last week, I voted against my party for only the second time in fifteen years,” Harper wrote in The Telegraph.
“The country is badly in need of a different and enduring strategy for living with the virus that doesn’t require us to keep living under a series of damaging lockdowns and seemingly arbitrary restrictions.”
The former chief whip called on the government to publish a full cost-benefit analysis of restrictions on a regional basis, including economic and health considerations.
“Lockdowns and restrictions cause immense economic, social and non-Covid health damage,” he said.
In addition, the Covid Recovery Group is calling for an end to the “monopoly” of government scientists, arguing that “prevailing expert scientific opinion” should be challenged.
It said the government should publish models that inform its policies to allow for public scrutiny.
Other members of the new group include Adam Afriyie, Chris Green, Philip Hollobone, Sir Robert Syms and William Wragg.