Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, has urged the government to recall parliament for a vote if it “tries to impose further restrictions on civil liberties” over the Christmas period.
Sir Edward was addressing the House of Commons on Thursday, December 16, the final day before the recess for Christmas.
The House of Commons will return to business as usual on January 5, 2022, but with looming lockdown restrictions seeming an increasing possibility over the festive season due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Gainsborough MP wanted government to consider a parliament recall should another vote be required.
Edward Leigh, who was one of the main Conservative rebels in the recent COVID passport and mandatory vaccination votes, asked Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg: “Will he guarantee that if the government does try to impose any further restrictions on civil liberties, even over the Christmas period, that parliament will be recalled?”
The question was met with a smattering of “here here” from fellow MPs, and Rees-Mogg replied by claiming this current government is “one of the most civil libertarian” in over a century.
If the Government brings forward any measures inimical to our civil liberties over Christmas, Parliament must be recalled. pic.twitter.com/HPf05uVSVB
— Sir Edward Leigh MP (@EdwardLeighMP) December 16, 2021
His comments come after the government passed the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, restricting people’s right to protest.
Rees-Mogg continued: “We really believe in the liberties of the people of the United Kingdom, believe that people make better choices for themselves than we make for them, and it is this leader who has felt obliged in the face of a health crisis to make the decisions he has made.
“Just think if we’d have had a socialist leader joyfully taking away our liberties, loving locking us down, the other side would have kept us locked down forever and ever.
“This leader, our leader, our Prime Minister has always restored freedoms as quickly as possible and taken them away with reluctance, which is something we should be very pleased about.”
The Leader of the House then went on to discuss any potential recall, and reassured all MPs that parliament is “always recalled when there is a really serious matter to discuss”, and that government will listen to calls for recall “if the issue is serious enough”.
Mr Rees-Mogg’s statement was then closed out by Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who wished everyone a Merry Christmas and spoke about how important the Commons are.
He said: “This house matters, let’s make sure ministers come here to hold them to account.”