Lincoln
September 29, 2020 11.26 am

Lincolnshire Tory rebels call for scrutiny over coronavirus rules

They want emergency powers returned to parliament

Three Lincolnshire MPs are among 52 Tories said to be backing further scrutiny by Parliament over future coronavirus measures.

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney and South Holland MP John Hayes have signalled they would back an amendment to the Coronavirus Act by Graham Brady later this week.

Emergency powers passed in March enabled the government to make certain executive decisions on how to tackle coronavirus pandemic, including the ability to postpone local elections and close down pubs.

The powers are time-limited and must be extended through a House of Commons vote.

The amendment to the vote says: “Parliament has an opportunity to debate and to vote upon any secondary legislation with effect in the whole of England or the whole United Kingdom before it comes into effect”.

Sir Edward Leigh has been vocal on social media, particularly in opposing any further lockdown restrictions, and on Monday interrupted a speech by health secretary Matt Hancock.

He said: “If the first duty of government is to keep people safe, will he remember that the first duty of Parliament is to hold government to account. I know he wants to take public opinion with him, but will he also make sure he takes Parliament with him.”

In reply Matt Hancock said they’d already started a process to keep Parliament involved by having regular statements and debates and daily calls with ministers.

Mr Hancock met with several MPs on Monday, with MP for Wycomb Steve Baker describing it as a “cordial and constructive meeting” and hoping discussions will “reach a satisfactory agreement”.

Mr Hancock later promised the government was “looking at further ways the House can be properly involved in the process in advance where possible”.

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