Boris Johnson faces Tory backlash over coronavirus emergency powers

Senior members of the Tory party are planning to stop Boris Johnson imposing new coronavirus lockdown restrictions without the say of Parliament.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, has said he intends to table an amendment which would require the Government to put any new measures to a vote of MPs.

It comes after the Prime Minister announced that Brits who refuse to self-isolate after being told do could face a fine of up to £10,000 in new measures to curb the spread of the disease .

Sir Graham told The Sunday Telegraph that he would take the opportunity to seek to amend the legislation when the Government comes to renew the emergency powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The move is likely to attract significant support from Conservative MPs unhappy at the extensive powers taken by ministers with little or no parliamentary scrutiny.

Sir Graham told the Telegraph: “In March, Parliament gave the Government sweeping emergency powers at a time when Parliament was about to go into recess and there was realistic concern that NHS care capacity might be overwhelmed by Covid-19.

“We now know that the NHS coped well with the challenge of the virus and Parliament has been sitting largely since April. There is now no justification for ministers ruling by emergency powers without reference to normal democratic processes.

“It is essential that going forward all of these massively important decisions for family life, and affecting people’s jobs and businesses should be exercised with proper supervision and control.”

READ  Brexit: Boris Johnson claims EU has not explained in detail why it objects to his alternative backstop plan - live news

The new regulations announced on Saturday will come into force in England on September 28, although ministers are in discussion with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about extending them UK-wide.

It follows a warning by Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London – whose modelling led to the original nationwide lockdown, that the authorities needed to act “sooner rather than later” if they were to avoid a return to the infection rates of last March.

Ministers are still looking at further restrictions, including a temporary two or three-week “circuit break” in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.

The move could see pubs and restaurants ordered to close or face a 10pm curfew, while socialising between households could be banned.


Leave a Reply