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PM Boris Johnson faces mass Tory revolt over 'work from home but go to Christmas parties' message

At a Downing Street press conference last night, the PM declared that people should once again work from home where possible, as well as extending use of masks and introducing Covid passports for nightclubs

Boris Johnson is struggling to contain a Tory revolt today amid fury at 'non-sensical' new Covid restrictions and his handling of the No10 Christmas party debacle.

The PM dramatically triggered 'Plan B' measures to control the rampant Omicron strain at a press conference last night, with fears that infections are now doubling every few days and the NHS could be crippled.

Millions of office staff will be urged to work from home from Monday, while masks will be required in theatres and cinemas, and Covid passports are being introduced for nightclubs and large venues.

But Mr Johnson stressed that office Christmas parties should go ahead, sparking derision from critics. Desperate businesses have complained that the differing restrictions for venues 'don't make any sense'.

Dozens of Conservative MPs are now threatening to rebel against the measures when a Commons vote is held next week - although support from Labour means they will still pass.

Backbencher Marcus Fysh said today that the latest curbs are an 'utter disgrace', while former chief whip Mark Harper has questioned whether the government has the moral authority to impose the limits given the row over rules being flouted in Downing Street.

There was a further setback when the NHS Covid pass website crashed for several hours last night.

In signs of Cabinet tensions, Sajid Javid this morning dismissed a hint from the PM that mandatory vaccination might be looked at in future, saying that would be 'ethically wrong'.

And the Health Secretary revealed that he refused to continue with a scheduled round of broadcast interviews yesterday because he was 'upset' by the bombshell video of No10 aides giggling about an alleged lockdown-busting festive gathering last year.

Mr Javid insisted it is 'proportionate' to urge people not to go to the office

The scale of the damage to the Tories from the partying revelations, which followed the sleaze row, has been underlined with a poll showing 63 per cent of voters think the PM should resign.

Labour also had a four-point lead in the Redfield & Wilton poll, the largest since the 2019 general election.

At a downbeat Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said the new restrictions were a 'proportionate and responsible' reaction to a surge in Omicron cases.

But he faced accusations that he had accelerated the move to Plan B restrictions in order to shift the news agenda away from public outrage over claims that No10 staff held a Christmas party last December in defiance of tough lockdown rules.