Boris Johnson seeks to extend 'draconian' Covid rules until next MARCH

Boris Johnson seeks to extend ‘draconian’ Covid rules until next MARCH in case of a winter surge in cases – setting up a new battle with Tory backbenchers

  • The Coronavirus Act provisions have to be renewed every six months 
  • Downing Street wants a vote on carrying them through to March 
  • But such a move is likely to lead to fury on Mr Johnson’s backbenches 

Boris Johnson is planning to renew Covid laws for another six months to cover a possible winter surge, setting himself up for a new showdown with lockdown sceptic Tory backbenchers.

The Coronavirus Act provisions have to be renewed every six months and Downing Street wants a vote on carrying them through to March after Parliament returns next week.

But such a move is likely to lead to fury on Mr Johnson’s backbenches, where many MPs want to see the economic recovery given priority.

Some 35 voted against extending the rules in March and given the vaccination programme has progressed significantly since then, it paves the way for a wider rebellion when it comes to a Commons vote later this month.

In march, then health secretary Matt hancock said it would be ‘preferable’ if the laws were not renewed again. 

The Coronavirus Act provisions have to be renewed every six months and Downing Street wants a vote on carrying them through to March after Parliament returns next week.

Mark Harper, the Conservative MP and chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, told the Financial Times the law contained ‘the most draconian detention powers in modern British legal history’ and should be allowed to lapse.

Mark Harper, the Conservative MP and chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, told the Financial Times the law contained ‘the most draconian detention powers in modern British legal history’ and should be allowed to lapse. 

They have to be voted upon every six months to remain in force and automatically lapse in March after two years.

‘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,’ he 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?’

A government spokesman said: ‘We will allow temporary powers in the Coronavirus Act to expire wherever possible, as we have at previous review points.

‘However, it would be irresponsible to allow all temporary provisions to expire. 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.’

It came as an exclusive new poll for MailOnline revealed half of Brits believe it is likely Boris Johnson will impose another coronavirus lockdown before the end of this year.  

The analysis by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found 50 per cent of people believe another national shutdown could be on the cards in 2021. Just a quarter, 25 per cent, believe another lockdown is unlikely. 

Meanwhile, a majority of Brits, some 60 per cent, would support Mr Johnson taking such action if coronavirus cases skyrocket. 

The Prime Minister said he wanted the nation’s exit from the last lockdown to be ‘irreversible’. 

Any attempt to reimpose Covid-19 curbs would spark a furious backlash from backbench Tory MPs.    

The poll of 1,500 people, conducted from September 1-2, found that 16 per cent of people believe another lockdown this year is very likely.  

Some 34 per cent believe a shutdown is likely while 18 per cent believe it is unlikely and seven per cent believe it is very unlikely. 

The numbers suggest that a majority of the nation would support the Prime Minister making such a move if the scale of infections demanded it. 

Some 26 per cent of respondents said they would strongly support another lockdown if coronavirus cases increased to ‘significant levels’. 

Just over a third, 34 per cent, said they would support the step while 12 per cent would oppose it and 11 per cent would strongly oppose it.

Source: Read Full Article

click fraud detection