Matt Hancock fought back tears as he revealed his step-grandfather died after catching Covid-19.
The Health Secretary told MPs of the death within his family as he concluded the six-hour debate on the new tier restrictions to be implemented in England from Wednesday to replace the national lockdown.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock said: “We can afford to let up a little, we just can’t afford to let up a lot.
“Let that be the message that goes out from this House.
“We know through repeat experience what happens if this virus gets out of control.
“If it gets out of control, it grows exponentially, hospitals comes under pressure, and people die.
“This isn’t just speculation, it’s a fact that has affected thousands of families including my own.”
BREAKING: Health Secretary @MattHancock reveals in an emotional statement to Parliament that his step-grandfather Derek died from covid-19 last month. Very sad news for him & his family. pic.twitter.com/NbsnYyt8dl— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 1, 2020
Shortly after MPs backed the new system of coronavirus tiers for England as Boris Johnson survived a significant revolt from Conservative rebels to pass the restrictions.
Their backing paves the way for 99 per cent of England to enter the toughest Tier 2 and 3 restrictions when the second national lockdown ends on Wednesday.
The House of Commons voted by 291 votes to 78 – a Government majority of 213 – for the new restrictions on Tuesday evening.
With Labour ordering its MPs to abstain, the measures passed despite senior Tories having lined up to criticise the measures.
Just confirmed: 55 Tory MPs voted against the Govt on covid tiering system and 16 abstained. A rebellion of 71 (if none were slipped). Biggest rebellion against the PM in this Parliament. Theresa May was one of the abstentions.— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) December 1, 2020
The Labour whips suggested around 56 Tory MPs voted against the Government ahead of the voting lists being revealed by the Commons.
If the revolt is of that scale, it will be the largest Commons rebellion Mr Johnson has sustained since December’s general election.
A Government spokesman welcomed the backing from the Commons to “help to safeguard the gains made during the past month and keep the virus under control”.
But he said that ministers will “continue to work with MPs who have expressed concerns in recent days”.
I voted against the Government’s proposals tonight.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 1, 2020
I don’t believe the measures are what is needed to drive down the levels of the virus.
The financial support packages being offered are inadequate, inconsistent and unfair to many areas.