Brexiteer Baker Slams Covid Laws, Says Britons Must ‘Live Like Free People’

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: Conservative MP Steve Baker leaves Downing Street on October 16, 2019 in London, England. Boris Johnson needs to get Tory Brexiteers and The DUP to agree to support his Brexit deal by the end of the day. Talks are continuing into the night and tomorrow …
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Steve Baker has criticised the prime minister’s “draconian” new coronavirus rules which were passed without parliamentary scrutiny, saying, “This is not a fit legal environment for a free people.”

The leading Conservative MP has become one of the first in parliament to openly criticise Boris Johnson’s decision on Wednesday to impose strict laws forbidding more than six people from gathering in public or private spaces in response to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

Government figures are also reportedly unhappy with the new rules, with a Cabinet source telling the Daily Mail that every minister in the coronavirus response group was against the ‘rule of six’, apart from Health Secretary Matt Hancock. However, the Tory ministers were still reportedly largely in favour of limiting gatherings to eight people.

On Friday, Baker, a leading member of the European Research Group (ERG), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “When you look at the draconian imposition on the British people, the shifting and uncertain legal environment, the lack of scrutiny, and what has changed about this disease, I think it is now time to say that this is not a fit, legal environment for the British people.”

He continued that unless the government can demonstrate otherwise, the time for restrictive laws should be over.

“It’s time for us to actually start living like a free people, not subjecting ourselves to constantly shifting legal requirements,” he said.

He outlined the nonsensical logic in the new ‘rule of six’ versus exemptions, such as that you may be in a church with dozens of other people, but you may not go to church with more than five others; children may go to school and mix, but not go to a party together; people may work in unlimited numbers, but not go in groups of more than six to the pub afterwards.

“It is madness to continue subjecting the people to what now amounts to arbitrary power without scrutiny,” Mr Baker said.

The laws, which come into effect on Monday, gives police the power to disperse, fine, and even arrest those congregating. However, the government outlined that protests — such as the far-left Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protests that London has been for months — are exempt, as long as they are “organised in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessments”.

The government’s plans also outline the introduction of “COVID Secure Marshalls” who will “help ensure social distancing in town and city centres”. Mr Baker warned that “The effect of having COVID marshalls will be to turn every public space in Britain into the equivalent of going through airport security where we’re badgered, directed, and forced through.”

“I’m not willing to live like this,” he added.

Mr Baker was one of the first to come out against the lockdown in the spring, calling it “tyrannical, dystopian and absurd”.

Former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption warned less than two weeks after the first set of restrictions were put in place in March that “This is what a police state is like — it is a state in which the government can issue orders or express preferences with no legal authority, and the police enforce minister’s wishes.”

Breitbart London’s Jame Delingpole wrote this week that “Boris Johnson has led a fascist coup against the United Kingdom”, saying that the prime minister is “currently presiding over the biggest assault on the British people’s freedoms since Cromwell’s Commonwealth”.

 

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.