MPs Must Vote On 'Draconian' Lockdown Laws, Demands Tory MP

Steve Baker warns: 'How do people think that liberty dies?'

A former Conservative minister has said the failure of government to give MPs a vote on coronavirus lockdown laws could be the death of “liberty”.

Steve Baker is one of at least 40 Tory rebels who are pushing the government to give MPs a chance to debate and vote on Covid-19 rules before they come into force.

Speaking to Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday programme, Baker said: “MPs should be sharing in the dreadful burden of decision in these circumstances and not just retrospectively being asked to approve what the government has done.”

He said there were “plenty” of MPs who would back the amendment, and that he thought it would be selected by the Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

Baker described the coronavirus rules as “draconian”, and said he and colleagues were putting forward a “very modest proposal” that they should vote on law before it comes into effect.

He added: “How do people think that liberty dies? It dies like this with government exercising draconian powers, without parliamentary scrutiny in advance, undermining the rule of law by having a shifting blanket of rules that no-one can understand.”

But culture secretary Oliver Dowden said it was important the government has the power to “move quickly” in introducing new rules during a “crisis”.

And he told Sky News people had to stick to the current coronavirus rules to avoid further restrictions.

“It really is in the power of everyone watching this show to make sure they abide by those rules and prevent further draconian restrictions,” he said.

He added: “No man is an island in this: each person has to take their own responsibilities because it will in turn affect everyone else.


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