TUESDAY will see the well overdue debate and vote on whether the ‘temporary’ provisions of the 2020 Coronavirus Act will remain in force for another six months. (They technically ran out in the last week of September).
The motion will be: ‘That the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 should not yet expire.’
An email of inquiry to the House of Commons elicited this information:
‘If the House decides to approve the motion, nothing has to change. The Act continues in force as it is at the moment until 25 March 2022. On that date, any remaining temporary provisions will expire, unless Parliament has decided further to extend them in the interim.
‘If the House rejects the motion, a Minister must bring forward regulations to terminate the temporary provisions within three weeks. If it wanted to save any of the temporary measures, it would then have to pass fresh legislation to keep them.
‘The Speaker will only call a division (i.e. a vote) on the motion if there are MPs who oppose it at the end of the debate.
‘The motion mentioned above might be debated alongside other motions. For example, the Government has indicated it intends to expire some of the provisions of the Act, and this would involve parliamentary approval for the legislation that does that. You will be able to find out exactly what is to be debated and decided on when the order paper for Tuesday is published on the Parliament website. This will most likely be published shortly after the House rises on Monday evening.’
TCW Defending Freedom invited its readership to join its campaign to repeal this autocratic act just over a month ago.
It reminded readers that the Coronavirus Act 2020, passed on the basis that it was an emergency but without declaring a ‘State of Emergency’, received the Royal Assent after being rushed through Parliament in under four days. It gave the government major additional powers, especially by means of statutes (in effect decrees) to bring in laws which did not require any democratic debate, vote or indeed any form of scrutiny.
It was followed by a series of Regulations brought under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984. All these sidelined the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the terms of which would have allowed Parliament some supervisory role over Ministers’ actions.
The Coronavirus Act was always designed to expire at the end of March 2022 without interruption, but via an amendment became subject to a six-monthly renewal vote in Parliament which, sadly, has been to little avail. Parliament has already rubber-stamped it through twice. Should this happen again as expected on Tuesday, the further threat looms of the Act being renewed next March and staying indefinitely on the Statute Book on the basis of whatever pretext this government dreams up, no doubt supported by the Labour party.
The mainstream media appear unconcerned that the Westminster system under which we allegedly live does not safeguard against its abuse. Yet the continued extension of the Coronavirus Act’s emergency powers is just that. Along with questionable measures under the Public Health Act, it has transformed us from a reasonably well-functioning democracy to an incipient autocracy, in which our most fundamental freedoms – to travel, to associate, to access services and conduct business – have all been curtailed, and a medical apartheid implemented.
However futile it feels, campaigners mustn’t let up pressure on MPs by writing to them or protesting outside Parliament on the day. But we know this is not enough and this is why we are asking you today to sign a new Petition – this time to have a referendum on abolishing the Coronavirus Act, to ensure full and open debate of its excessive measures.
The Petition link is here.
It has already been signed by upwards of 55,500 people.
The government has never sought the democratic consent of the British public on their use of the Coronavirus Act. Since the main Parliamentary opposition has supported it, a General Election would not resolve the issue and for this purpose would be pointless.
Under current law a Petition receiving 10,000 signatures is entitled to an official government response; a Petition receiving 100,000 signatures is considered for a Parliamentary debate.
Though giving citizens one of the few means to have important issues considered and debated, successful petitions concerning the Coronavirus Act have, to date, been fobbed off.
But a Petition calling for a Referendum is more difficult for the government to brush aside. If Parliament does so, it will be seen to be openly flouting democracy.
It is simply calling for the people to have their say on an issue which has profoundly affected their lives for nearly two years. It is an entirely reasonable request and even those supporting the imposition of the Coronavirus Act will struggle to reject the right of people being given their say on this most important and fundamental of issues.
A Referendum would open the debate denied for so long. This is crucial in the fight to regain our freedoms and liberties, and to make sure they are never taken away again.
A number of key personalities have been promoting the Petition, including Laurence Fox who shared the link with his Twitter followers and said of the Act: ‘We won’t be free until it goes. Please share widely.’