Anger is growing in Westminster as government renews the Coronavirus Act. Backbench Tories are up in arms over governments ”disproportionate’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Forest West’s MP Desmond Swayne attacked governments latest range of Coronavirus restrictions as an ‘intrusion into our civil liberties’. The growing anger stems from the belief that Government is acting in an ‘Orwellian manner’ and imposing restrictions that go further than they need to.
The Coronavirus act returns
The Coronavirus act returns to the Commons for its six-month review this week. Ministers on Tory backbenches are looking to use the review to amend the act, adding in the need for a ministerial vote before any new guidelines are added by government.
Coming to the aid of the angry MP’s is former Chairman of the 1922 committee Graham Brady, who has tabled an amendment which will look change the Coronavirus act so that MP’s can vote on any future changes to restrictions/lockdowns.
The Brady amendment
Sources on the right have told us they believe tell us that Speaker Lindsey Hoyle will reject the amendment when tabled. However, more moderate sources have said that Hoyle has hinted that he will accept the amendment; which has led the government to start bargaining with the backbenches to avoid the embarrassing defeat.
Giving ministers a vote on issues IS as democratic as politics gets; but we have to remember that if one party has a huge majority they can roll out the most selfish, Conservative focused policy they want and still make it seem democratic. Brady is a ‘top tory’ and as such has been used by previous leaders to amend legislation for them; Lest we forget the last Brady amendment which conveniently gave Theresa May the one thing she needed – More time.
Brady’s amendment aims to remove the time-limited expiry from the act and replace it will a ministerial vote; This is a concern. At present, the Coronavirus Act can only remain in law until 2022. The Brady amendment provides government with a backdoor way of keeping elements of the Coronavirus Act in law, such as the criminalisation of protesting or stopping people from gathering, until long after the pandemic has passed.
The time-limited nature of the Coronavirus act is currently the only part that stops it changing society forever.