Tory MP Steve Baker gives government a week to revise 10pm Covid curfew before he votes against it

Senior Tory Steve Baker has told ITV News he will oppose the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues when the coronavirus restriction is put to a vote in the Commons next week.

Mr Baker said he intends to give the government a week’s “space to revise what they’re doing”, or he’ll "encourage" other Conservative MPs to vote against it too. 

Speaking to the Acting Prime Minister podcast, the MP said the rule is "badly evidenced and appears to be counter-productive".

He said the rule, which forces pubs to close between 10pm and 5am, is "wrecking the hospitality industry, which we only just pumped lots of taxpayers money into through Eat Out to Help Out".

He claimed the "cost of lockdowns are worse than the cost of the disease" and suggested the PM is only imposing them because of hopes of a vaccine "turning up and solving all these problems".

He said he fears the UK is in "grave danger" of "jumping into a lobster pot here from which we can't emerge" if a vaccine is not forthcoming.

"The danger we're in at the moment is we'll destroy our economy," he told podcast host Paul Brand.

He said he supports Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his response to coronavirus, but questioned whether he is "betting the country on a vaccine turning up".

"If his strategy is based on a vaccine coming, I think there's going to be a problem," he said.

The Wycombe MP appeared to suggest the team around the prime minister was not allowing him to use his strengths.

"We didn't make him prime minister for his meticulous grasp of tedious administrative detail - we made him prime minister for his charisma and vision.

"And what's required is an environment around Boris that makes the most of his charisma and his vision while other people take care of the tedious details.

"And when I say tedious, it doesn't mean they're unimportant. They're extremely important. They're the foundation of our life. But you know, what we need to do is make sure he gets all the help that we can give him."

Mr Baker, who was a prominent Brexit supporter, said he "deeply" regrets the way the UK divided over EU membership and said he can feel the same happening with coronavirus.

“I'm really worried that our society is polarising with hysterical arguments on both sides.

"What I am saying is I want us to have a radical spirit of concern for one another, a radical willingness to listen to one another and then be moderate in what we say and do to try and close all these, all these divides.” 

The episode of Acting Prime Minister featuring Steve Baker will be available on Wednesday evening - in the meantime, here are our previous episodes: