A group of 80 Tory MPs are backing an amendment to the UK’s coronavirus regulations in order to prevent Boris Johnson from imposing “Orwellian” restrictions by decree and return the governance of the UK to the Houses of Parliament.
The amendment put forward by Sir Graham Brady would return the primacy of parliamentary consent, giving MPs the final decision on any new coronavirus restrictions before they are enacted.
The move comes as some within the party are increasingly likening Mr Johnson’s draconian lockdown measures to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Without the consent of parliament, the Johnson-led government has introduced a swath of new COVID-19 regulations including massive fines for supposedly breaching the regulations.
The government has made it illegal to gather with people outside your household in the North East, set in place a nationwide curfew on restaurants and pubs in England, and have even barred pubs from playing music too loudly, according to The Times. Mr Johnson has also decreed that those found to be “recklessly” breaking self-isolation could face fines of £4,000, with fines going as high as £10,000.
The government has also empowered local councils to task “COVID marshals” and police to use “reasonable force” to enforce self-isolation.
All of the restrictions have been imposed without the consent of Parliament. Whether the emergency coronavirus bill that empowered the government to take such drastic measures will be renewed or amended will be decided by MPs on Wednesday.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 21, 2020
Conservative MP Steve Baker — a leading voice against the government’s “draconian” measures — said that the government is facing an “absolutely huge rebellion” from the Tory Party backbenchers who are concerned that the “rule of law is in great trouble”.
“We know the road to hell is paved with good intention. And yet here we stand wandering down the road to hell,” Baker said.
“What we’re saying is that parliament needs to be inserted into the process like normal government has been ruling by decree in practical ways and that means we haven’t had the opportunity to legitimize and share in the burden of decision,” he told the Evening Standard.
“What we’re trying to do is get back to a constitutional norm where other than an emergency, ministers have to come and get parliament’s permission before taking away people’s freedoms,” Baker added.
On Monday, the Brexiteer MP was spotted wearing a shirt that read: “2020 is the new 1984”.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 28, 2020
Health Secretary Matt Hancock shot back at the Tory rebels, claiming that the only way of stopping the spread of the China virus is to submit to strict control from the government, warning that “letting the virus rip would leave a death toll too big to bear”.
“The exponential growth of the virus means that there are in reality only two paths: either to control the virus or to let it rip. There is no middle option,” Hancock claimed.
Mr Baker said that the Health Secretary was presenting MPs with a “false dichotomy”, arguing that “if you look at what various professional epidemiologists are saying it is possible to conceive of a third way which shields people who are vulnerable — undoubtedly vulnerable to this disease for whom it is very dangerous — but which does accept that lockdowns can only defer the inevitable progress of the disease.”
Pub owners in London have already said that the 10 pm curfew is having a devastating impact on their businesses with many claiming they are on the brink of collapse.
Civic leaders in Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester have also warned that the hospitality industries in their cities or on the verge of collapse in a letter addressed to Mr Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
Despite increasing economic fallout from the government’s restrictions, and a growing anti-lockdown protest, the British public at large is seemingly content with limitations on liberty in exchange for perceived safety, with nearly two-thirds of the country backing more restrictions.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 22, 2020
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