THE Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent on March 25 last year after passing through the House of Commons without a vote, such was the panic engendered by media images of overwhelmed medical services in Italy and Imperial College’s massively exaggerated Covid death predictions. The Act granted the government emergency powers to handle the Covid-19 pandemic. These allow the government to limit or suspend public gatherings, to detain individuals suspected to be infected by Covid-19, and to intervene or relax regulations in a range of sectors to limit transmission of the disease, ease the burden on public health services, and assist healthcare workers and the economically affected. Areas covered by the act include the National Health Service, social care, schools, police, Border Force, local councils, funerals and courts.
The Act was originally designed to expire at the end of March 2022 without interruption, but thanks to former Brexit Secretary David Davis it became subject to a six-monthly renewal vote in Parliament. Davis’s amendment tabled on March 21 last year to restrict the Act to a ‘brick-wall stop’ of one year failed, but this and the threat of a backbench rebellion led to the government’s own amendment to the Bill requiring parliamentary renewal of its powers every six months. The first of these came at the end of September 2020, the second in March 2021. Each time, shamefully, its extension has been voted through by a large majority of MPs. Only 24 MPs voted against the first time, and a very disappointing 76 the second time.
The one party to date to make a formal stand against its extension are the Liberal Democrats. Their leader, Ed Davey, has accused the Government of making ‘false claims’ over the need for an ongoing Coronavirus Act to enforce emergency lockdown restrictions. Notable critics to take a stand against it in the Conservative Party include Sir Charles Walker, Sir Graham Brady and Sir Desmond Swayne.
The argument that the Coronavirus Act is not important because most of the restrictions that have been irrationally imposed on society have been under section of the 1984 Public Health Act is mistaken. Nothing has been more symbolic of the slide into tyranny than this rubber-stamped Act. Numerous prosecutions have been attempted and indeed made under its provisions. If MPs fail to repeal it for the third time they will be allowing the government – and indeed the media which they appear to lead by the nose – to continue with the charade that there is a Covid crisis national emergency. There is not.
Powers in the Act remain dangerous. Schedule 22 gives the government extraordinary powers to prohibit gatherings, meaning that protests, vigils and political assemblies could be banned. It has never been activated in England and so is plainly unnecessary, but neither is it proportionate in a democracy. All the time it sits on the statute books it poses a threat to the right to free expression, freedom of assembly and democracy.
The fact is that none of the measures were ever necessary. They were granted in the middle of a panic to prevent a worst-case scenario that never came to pass. Since then the government has used these powers irresponsibly, if not abused them. The Coronavirus Act has made the problem worse, not better. There was and is no justification for extending these powers. All the data accumulated in the last eighteen months says this Act is not needed, as has been documented endlessly on these pages, on Lockdown Sceptics (now the Daily Sceptic), by HART and by numerous other independent scientists and doctors. As James Delingpole put it brutally and accurately at the beginning of the year, most of the government Covid statistical analysis is bollocks and designed to engender false fear.
Now, in less than three weeks, the vote for renewing this unjustifiable Act is coming up for a third time.
In March we advised readers to write to their MPs and set out a specimen letter. We fear repeating this letter is a waste of time. We suggest instead that readers concentrate their MPs’ minds by telling them that if he or she fails to vote against this next Coronavirus Act extension you will be giving your vote to the LibDems next time round, as the only party taking a decisive stand on the Act’s immediate repeal, or any other emergent party taking an equally decisive stand.
We’d also encourage you to sign this Repeal the Coronavirus Act petition here and forward it to like-minded friends.
Finally we invite readers to suggest or design their own TCW Defending Freedom car and window stickers to promote our ‘Repeal the Coronavirus Act’ campaign. And we invite your suggestions, below the line and via email to email@example.com on how to further our campaign and which other groups we could or should join forces with.
It’s time to end the charade. It’s time to end this legislative symbol of fear and to take aware these tyrannical powers from an immoral government that looks quite capable of using them. Please make your voice heard.