Brexit’s Davis: Repeal Every Law Passed Under Coronavirus Emergency Act

Police officers wearing face masks and gloves due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stand on duty
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Former Brexit Secretary and Tory MP David Davis has called for the “unnecessary emergency powers” given to the government under the Coronavirus Act to be removed, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for the powers to remain in place until at least March of 2022.

The Coronavirus Act, which was introduced by the Tory government in March of last year, drastically curtailed the civil rights of Britons, with police being empowered to detain “potentially infectious persons” as well as the ability to break up so-called mass gatherings and issue fines up to £10,000.

The powers given to the government must be renewed every six months, meaning that a vote in the House of Commons will be required this month for the emergency authority to remain in place through the winter.

Lockdown sceptic and former Brexit Secretary David Davis said that he will vote against his own party, telling talkRadio on Monday: “I was the first person to raise the red flag on the emergency right back in the beginning and I still take the same view. They no longer need an extension.

“In fact, it’s just the opposite, we should have a freedom bill to revoke every law passed under the emergency act because most of them, people don’t even know about it, ministers just did it.

“If Labour got some never about it, they would realise that this is now the popular move to make, to stand up to the government on extending these unnecessary powers.”

Mr Davis also said that he intends to vote against the introduction of domestic vaccine passports, which the government plans on imposing on large public venues such as nightclubs and theatres.

He argued against the efficacy of such a move, warning that they could be “dangerously misleading” as vaccination status has not been proven to prevent people from contracting or spreading the Chinese virus.

“Again, I hope the opposition parties grow some courage on this because I think there is growing opposition on the Tory backbenches, it certainly will include me.”

Speaking to the Financial Times on Friday, the chairman of the COVID Recovery Group of lockdown sceptic MPs, Mark Harper said that there was no justification for extending the “the most draconian detention powers in modern British legal history”, pointing to the provisions which give police the power of indefinite detention.

“Our vaccine rollout has been a huge success. We have seen a dramatic and welcome fall in people suffering from serious disease and death from Covid as a result,” the Tory MP said.

“We are going to have to learn to live with this virus, and retaining sweeping powers of detention in the Coronavirus Act is not consistent with this. What justification can there be for extending these measures?”

The renewal of the Coronavirus Act, however, is expected to pass through the House of Commons as it is expected that the so-called opposition Labour Party will side with the government, blocking off any challenge from within Prime Minister’s backbench.

A government spokesperson argued that it would be “irresponsible” to allow all the emergency powers to expire, saying: “Doing so would remove the government’s ability to protect renters from eviction, give sick pay to those self-isolating from day one, and direct schools to reopen where needed, for example.

“The British public would expect us to retain these powers in case they are needed through the winter.”

Over the past year and a half, the Coronavirus Act has resulted in the criminalisation of many activities which have long been considered normal within free societies.

The British police have come under particular criticism for their overzealous enforcement of coronavirus restrictions, including targetting citizens for merely sitting on park benches.

In a notable example, the police force in Derbyshire cracked down on people walking their dogs in the countryside. The police force even used drones to record footage of walkers, which they later posted on social media in order to shame the supposed breaches of the regulations.

The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) also picked up on the China-style shame tactics, publicly shaming a man on social media for having a cup of tea at his friend’s house and issuing a fine of £200.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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