Tory rebel: MPs must share decision making burden on Covid laws

MPs have to share in the “terrible burden” of decision-making regarding “draconian” coronavirus restrictions. A leading Tory rebel calls for parliament to be voted before new laws come into force.

Former Minister Steve Baker is among at least 40 Conservative backers urging the government to allow the Commons to debate and vote on the Covid-19 rules before they go into effect.

1922 Tory Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady tabled an amendment to the coronavirus law that will be reviewed Wednesday to enforce greater parliamentary scrutiny of the regulations.

To appease the back benches, Downing Street offered MPs a chance to debate and vote on the “six point rule” next month, but the rebels continue to push for debates and votes before all measures go into effect.

Labor is expected to support the amendment, which means Mr Johnson, despite his 80 Commons majority, could lose his vote if 40 Tories rebel.

Mr Baker told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “MPs should be part of the terrible burden of decision in these circumstances, rather than just being asked to approve what the government has done.

“How do people think freedom is dying? It dies that way when the government exercises draconian powers without prior parliamentary scrutiny and undermines the rule of law by having a changing blanket of rules that no one can understand. “

He said there were “many” MPs who would support the amendment and he thought it would be chosen by Commons spokesman Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Conservative former party chairman Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Damian Green, who was effectively Deputy Prime Minister under Theresa May, Liaison Committee chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin, Sir Bob Neill and former Brexit secretary David Davis supported the offer.

DUP MPs and Labor Party leader John Cryer also support the move. Labor has said the party is “sympathetic” with the amendment.

A senior government source said: “The government is doing everything possible to involve Parliament in the Covid process while ensuring that it is able to react quickly to suppress the virus.

“This week the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Minister of Health made statements and asked questions to the House of Commons. MEPs have also received information from government scientists about the data that will influence our decisions.

“Next week there will be a Covid debate in government that the Minister of Health will open. And he will be in the house on Wednesday to debate the renewal of the coronavirus law.

“We will also bring the legal instrument on the ‘rule of six’ to the floor of the House so that Members can vote on it.

“We understand that MPs and their constituents are deeply concerned about the virus and so we try to involve them in the process as much as possible.”


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