The UK government has brought through 247 legal orders that have imposed the most dramatic restrictions on our liberties ever.
Most of these ‘statutory instruments’ were published only minutes before they came into force. There was no parliamentary discussion or vote. 34 orders were not even laid before parliament before they came into force.
This government by decree must end.
Current measures include:
- A ban on people meeting in groups of more than six – across the UK.
- Local lockdown bans on people in meeting up indoors with people from other households – in areas including Scotland, North-East England (from Wednesday), Birmingham, parts of Wales.
- A 10k fine for anyone who organises a gathering of more than 30 people – which has been used against political protests.
- A fine of up to 10k for anyone who fails to self-isolate when advised to do so.
- Powers for local authorities to ban or restrict gatherings.
- A national pub and restaurant closing time of 10pm.
The Coronavirus Act (which was also not subject to a vote) gives police powers of detention of potentially infectious persons, and power to the secretary of state to ban gatherings or demonstrations.
These powers have cancelled informal life, devastated large sections of the economy, and removed our right of protest.
These powers make little sense. Why are gatherings of 6 people banned, rather than 5 or 7? Why can children gather in groups at school, but not in the park after school?
Lockdown powers were justified as a response to a public health emergency, in order that health services could cope.
Now ‘lockdown’ has become the norm, which we are now told will last for 6 months.
Enough is enough. This has to stop.
The NHS is not being swamped; there is time for parliamentary debate and scrutiny of any future coronavirus restrictions.
Any major restriction on our liberties should be subject to parliamentary vote before coming into force.
This means that people can lobby their MP, and vote them out at the next election if they are not happy with their conduct.
We must retain the right to gather and protest against these restrictions, without fear of being slapped with 10k fines or being dispersed.
* Sign a Manifesto Club petition to Bring Back Democracy
There are also petitions to Scrap the Coronavirus Act (from Liberty, and on the Parliament Website), and to Scrap the Rule of 6 (on the Parliament Website).
* Write to your MP
Parliament will review the Coronavirus Act on Wednesday 1 October, and it will vote on the ‘Rule of 6’ on 6 October. Tell your MP that you want to scrap these unjustified laws and end government by decree