Tory Backbenchers Confident of Defeating Government Over ‘Rule By Decree’ Coronavirus Powers mdi-fullscreen

The Coronavirus Act 2020 was rushed through Parliament in just four sitting days in March, giving the Government sweeping ‘rule by decree’ powers to enact tough new Covid restrictions with no Parliamentary oversight. Thanks to liberty-minded Tory backbenchers, the Bill was amended before it passed to give MPs an ‘opportunity to express a view on the continued operation of the Act’s temporary provisions’ every six months. The first six month review is due next week…

MPs have been growing increasingly concerned with the Government imposing new restrictions with no debate in, or assent from Parliament. Increasing scepticism meant the Government leant away from as harsh measures as many were expecting earlier this week. This being said, the curfew measures for example are baffling many, and they want the opportunity to have their say over new measures in the future. All this led to a proposed amendment from Graham Brady which, if selected by the Speaker, would require Parliamentary approval for new measures.

Around 40 Tory MPs backing his amendment, which would be enough to overturn the Government’s 80 seat majority if opposition MPs back it too. Last night Steve Baker told Robert Peston that he is “absolutely, 100% certain it will pass if Labour and the SNP vote for it. But I’m afraid Labour and the SNP have been missing in action on civil liberties…”

One potential snag is that, as The Times’ Steven Swinford revealed yesterday, House Clerks have advised the motion on extending coronavirus powers is “binary” – and can only be approved or rejected, not amended. Rebel MPs do not see this as a problem as they believe if the amendment is selected and passed, it does not need to carry legal authority. The theory is the moral authority of the will of the Commons will be enough to brow beat the Government into finally putting new measures before Parliament for debate before being enacted…

mdi-tag-outline Coronavirus
mdi-account-multiple-outline Graham Brady Steve Baker
mdi-timer September 24 2020 @ 09:02 mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer
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