Dozens of Conservative backbenchers have backed a bid by rebels to force Boris Johnson to put all future lockdown measures to a vote of MPs.
More than 40 Tory MPs – enough to defeat the Government – backed an amendment tabled by the 1922 Committee chairman, Sir Graham Brady, to require a new Parliamentary vote on new powers "as soon as reasonably practicable" .
The MPs are hoping the amendment will be voted on next Wednesday, with the Government having, by law, to ask Parliament to approve its powers every six months.
The number of MPs supporting it means it will almost certainly overturn the Government's 80-seat majority if it is selected by the Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
The Brady amendment requires ministers to give Parliament a vote on any coronavirus powers that affect all of England or the UK (watch Boris Johnson telling Parliament about the latest restrictions in the video below) "as far as is practicable".
However, it is by no means certain that it will be chosen by Sir Lindsay, leaving the rebels hoping it will be adopted by the Government before Wednesday. This is because the vote on Wednesday is on a statutory motion which technically cannot be amended by MPs.
The Government could announce a climbdown to avoid a rebellion when ministers take part in a full day's debate on Covid-19 on Monday.
Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister who helped organise the amendment, said: "I am delighted to get this support for Sir Graham's amendment as well as support from across the wings of the Conservative party.
"This shows just how necessary it is for the Government to offer a compromise to deliver Parliament votes before we have future infringement of people's liberty."
The amendment is backed by 42 Tory MPs including some of the party's most senior backbenchers – among them 1922 officers Sir Graham, Sir Charles Walker, Bob Blackman, Pauline Latham, Karl McCartney, Dame Cheryl Gillan and Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.
Former ministers who have signed it include David Davis, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Sir John Redwood, Damian Green, Tim Loughton and David Jones, as well as Sir Bernard Jenkin and Sir Bob Neill.
Mr Davis said: "The smart sense is for the Government to give Brady and all of us what we are after. It is a very unwise Conservative Government that lets rebellion led by any chairman of the 1922 committee go the distance."