A CABAL of backbench Tory MPs opposed to lockdown has created a new campaign group to put pressure on the Prime Minister to change tack.

Led by former chief whip Mark Harper and Brexiteer Steve Baker, the rebels are calling themselves the Covid Recovery Group.

They plan on marshalling MPs to defeat any attempt by Boris Johnson to extend England’s coronavirus lockdown when it ends on December 2. They’re also demanding the Government listens to the advice of different scientists.

Last week, more than 30 Tory MPs voted against the legislation to bring in a four-week lockdown south of the Border.

Harper was one of those rebels.

Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “Last week I voted against a Conservative Government for only the second time in my 15 years in parliament, which was not easy for a former chief whip.

“Lockdowns cost lives, whether in undiagnosed cancer treatments, deteriorating mental health, and missed A&E appointments – not to mention the impact it has on young people’s education, job prospects and our soaring debts.

“The cure we’re prescribing runs the risk of being worse than the disease.

“The Covid Recovery Group will play its part in helping the government to deliver an enduring strategy for living with the virus, so that we break the transmission of the disease, command public support, end this devastating cycle of repeated restrictions and start living in a sustainable way until an effective and safe vaccine is successfully rolled out across the population.”

He added: “This is about ensuring that our response to Covid is rational and balanced, taking account of the non-Covid health and economic consequences of restrictions and not being driven by panic.”

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, is also a member of the group. He said: “We must find a more sustainable way of leading our lives until a vaccine is rolled out, rather than throwing our prosperity away by shutting down and destroying our economy, and overlooking the untold health consequences caused by lockdowns and restrictions.

“The country is crying out for a radically different and enduring strategy for living with the virus and the Covid Recovery Group will assist the government in leading the UK out of the coronavirus crisis and into a positive future.”

Other rebels on the new campaign’s steering group include Adam Afriyie, Chris Green, who quit as a junior ministerial aide over lockdown measures, Philip Hollobone, Sir Robert Syms and William Wragg.

News of the group came as deaths in the UK passed 50,000. A further 595 deaths were confirmed yesterday, bringing the four-nation total to 50,365.

In the Commons, Johnson was told by Labour leader Keir Starmer that people were “paying the price for the mistakes of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.”

He accused ministers of “spraying” money at PR firms, PPE and testing companies “that don’t deliver”. Johnson went on to say that private firms were leading the fight against coronavirus “no matter how much the party opposite may hate them”.