DORSET MP Richard Drax insists he will always act in the best interests of the country and his constituents after voting against his own Government on the controversial Covid ‘rule of six’.

MPs were given the chance to vote retrospectively on the rule, which limits the number of people gathering, including among families inside homes.

The Dorset South MP was one of 17 rebel MPs to vote against the measures when the issue came before Parliament on Tuesday night – 14 of them from the Tory party. Several more abstained, using the debate before the vote to attack Government over the scope of the rules.

Mr Drax has been outspoken with his opinion on the Government’s strict Covid regulations, which he claims are ruining livelihoods, wrecking the economy, destroying vital life experiences for younger people and could lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths from suicide and suspended medical treatment for other conditions.

After officially voting against the ‘rule of six’ in Parliament, he insisted he was not ‘instinctively a rebel’ but described the rule – as well as the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants – as ‘absurd’.

He added: “The rule of six simply doesn’t make sense. We are keeping families apart and there doesn’t seem to be the scientific evidence there to support having it in place.

“If someone could tell me having this rule would save thousands of lives then of course I would support it but there are a lot of eminent scientists who disagree fundamentally with what we are doing.

“I am appealing for some common sense and balance of managing the virus but not overreacting.

“When you put a number of scientists in a room you are going to get different solutions to the issues, and it is therefore down to us politicians to make a choice over what we think is right.

“I am just a back bencher doing what I believe is in the best interest of the country and my constituents. Each one of us, rightly or wrongly, has to make a decision when it comes to voting – and sometimes that takes courage.

“I am not instinctively a rebel, but with this issue I have to look at the measures in place. I treasure our freedom and I believe the way we have been reacting to this is destroying lives without scientific evidence to support it is working.”

Another parliamentary vote on the controversial 10pm curfew had been due to take place yesterday, but was delayed amid a growing number of MPs unhappy with the rule. It is now likely to take place next week.