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Mandatory face masks in shops: Conservatives shred membership cards and plan protests

The backlash against the UK government’s requirement to wear face masks in shops in England began in earnest on Tuesday, with supporters of the ruling Conservative Party shredding their membership cards and activists planning anti-mask protests.

Grassroots Conservative members took to social media to post pictures of their membership cards cut into pieces, sending the hashtag #NoMasks and term “Muzzles” trending on Twitter.

Face masks and coverings will be compulsory when visiting shops and supermarkets in England from July 24. Those who fail to comply with the new rules face fines of £100 (€110).

London-based barrister and now former Tory Party supporter, Francis Hoar, voiced his anger towards the Conservative government’s decision, tweeting: “It may only be one straw but there comes a point when any association with this government must end.

“This is not only the most incompetent government of my lifetime, it is the most authoritarian. It is not remotely conservative.”

Dominey Jenner, also from London, tweeted: “Just cancelled Conservative Party membership. @BorisJohnson you muppet. We’ve been so patient with you and now you’ve gone too far.”

Another party member, Alistair Haimes, tweeted a picture of his membership card in pieces and the word: “Enough.”

One-time Conservative MP, Douglas Carswell posted: “Oh well. No more going to the shops for me.” In a subsequent post, he posited: “Presumably those that insist we must all wear face masks in shops also favour wearing them in pubs, too? Which I guess means they drink through a straw? Or don’t pubs count?”

Long-time Conservative supporter and journalist Toby Young also tweeted his disapproval, referring to face masks as “mandatory face nappies”.

The revolt began in the upper echelons of the Conservative Party with English MP Sir Desmond Swayne openly criticising the policy in the House of Commons on Tuesday, calling it a “monstrous imposition”.

In a question to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, he said: “Nothing would make me less likely to go shopping than the thought of having to mask up.

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