Boris Johnson is facing increasing pressure from MPs in his own party who are angry at how the government dramatically cancelled the Christmas plans for millions of people.
One senior Conservative MP even accused ministers of avoiding parliamentary scrutiny by delaying the announcement until the Commons had closed for the festive period.
Others called for parliament to be recalled to debate the new measures, which could see many living under new tougher tier 4 restrictions for months.
Ministers insist they acted swiftly after they were informed of how contagious a new strain of the disease was on Friday.
By Saturday afternoon the prime minister had issued stay at home orders to millions and cancelled plans to allow others to spend up to five days together in a Christmas “bubble”.
But Sir Charles Walker, the vice chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, said he believed ministers knew before Friday that they planned to bring in the new restrictions.
He also called on whoever was responsible to resign.
“The government, in my view, knew on Thursday, possibly even Wednesday, that they were going to pull the plug on Christmas but they waited till parliament had gone,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.
“That, on top of everything else, is a resigning matter. I am not asking for the government to collapse. I am asking for a secretary of state to take some responsibility.”
Sir Charles suggested ministers wanted to avoid allowing MPs to examine the new controls.
Just a few weeks ago Mr Johnson was forced to back down in the face of growing parliamentary pressure over his plans to extended tiers in England, promising MPs a second vote in February on whether or not they will last until March.