CHRISTCHURCH MP Sir Christopher Chope launched a furious speech over the voting system used to formally approve the wearing of face masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The veteran Conservative backbencher said MPs were denied a "substantive vote on some of the most repressive legislation we have ever seen in our democracy".

Sir Christopher, along with New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne, both opposed the face mask policy in shops, supermarkets and other settings.

They wanted a full vote on The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020.

The former ministers shouted “no” at the top of their voices in a bid to force a vote in the division lobbies.

However, deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing took a decision based purely on the voices in the House of Commons chamber, with those of favour seen as having a majority.

In a point of order, Sir Christopher said: "There are thousands, in fact tens of thousands of people who will be observing these proceedings and will have noticed that the government has contrived to prevent this House of Commons being able to have a substantive vote on some of the most repressive legislation we have ever seen in our democracy and my right honourable friend for New Forest West and myself, we are but two among many, many members who object to what's going on.

"All I can say is revenge is best served cold."

Dame Eleanor said it was for person in the Speaker's chair at any time to decide whether there has to be a physical division or whether the opinion of the House of Commons can be taken on the voices.

"I decided I could hear a great many more ayes than I could no. It is my decision and I will stand by it," said the deputy speaker.

"If the honourable gentleman, or anyone else in this House, had wished to make sure that this division took place as a deferred division, which would have happened had we reached this point in the proceedings after 7pm, then it was open to the honourable gentleman, who I know from many years of past experience, is quite capable of keeping this House discussing a particular subject for many hours. Had he or any other member decided to make sure that previous business didn't finish before 7pm, it was open to him to do so."

The rules governing the House of Commons meant if the regulations had been moved for consideration at 7pm, then one MP shouting “object” would have forced a deferred division on Wednesday.

Deferred divisions allow MPs to cast their vote over a period of more than two hours.

But the main business on Tuesday concluded at 6.30pm, meaning there was enough time for a vote to be taken there and then on whether the measures were formally approved or not.