MPs tonight voted through the Government’s new system of coronavirus tiers – despite a backlash from the Conservative ranks, including Dorset’s Richard Drax.

A debate on the controversial new system began this afternoon and continued until 7pm, when a vote was taken on the measures. MPs voted 291 in favour of the tier system, while 78 voted against.

The majority of Labour MPs abstained from the vote after Sir Keir Starmer announced he remained “deeply concerned that Boris Johnson’s government had failed to use the latest lockdown to put a credible health and economic plan in place”.

Many MPs are angry with the new allocations which will see 99 per cent of England placed in the upper two tiers once national lockdown comes to an end at midnight. Tiers 2 and 3 carry a ban on household mixing indoors as well as strong restrictions for the hospitality industry.

Dorset has been placed in Tier 2 restrictions despite having among the lowest case numbers in the country.

Among those who voted against the measures was South Dorset MP, Richard Drax.

He said: “I looked at the ‘evidence’ presented by the government to justify this course of action, and it was simply re-hashed statistics that failed to answer the question of the economic impact – and the utter devastation associated with that – these policies are causing.

“People are not being treated in hospital, people are losing their jobs and their livelihoods. We are causing utter devastation to millions of lives. We asked for proper analysis of this and didn’t get it.

“It is an appalling loss of life for anyone who suffers with this horrible illness, but we are doing untold damage to millions more lives, and it should now be up to the people whether they want to go on supporting a policy that is doing so much damage.

“I would really encourage everyone to make their voices heard and write to their MPs to tell them how they really feel, and whether they believe it is time for a re-think. That is the way to influence this. We need to listen to the people.”

Last month, 34 MPs voted against imposing a second national lockdown on England – Mr Drax being among them.

The government has argued that more stringent measures were necessary than those in place before the second lockdown, with Boris Johnson saying the previous restrictions “weren’t quite enough”.

Only three areas – Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly – have been put into Tier 1, the lightest band of restrictions.

The vote comes as a study by Imperial College found that infections fell by 30 per cent across England over the last two weeks.