Bexhill and Battle MP and Hastings and Rye MP join rebellion in Parliament demanding vote on coronavirus lockdown measures
Bexhill and Battle’s MP Huw Merriman and Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart have joined dozens of Tory backbenchers to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to put all future lockdown measures to a vote in Parliament.
They backed the bid by more than 40 Tory rebels in supporting an amendment to the six-month parliamentary review of the Coronavirus Act tabled by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, which is the parliamentary group of the Conservative Party in the Commons.
In a tweet, Mr Merriman said: “(I have) added my name because decisions impacting life chances and livelihoods are better made when scrutinised and stress-tested. (It is) good for cohesion if MPs directly endorse and own the action Government needs to take.”
The move comes after Mr Johnson this week brought in new restrictions as a result of rising coronavirus (Covid-19) infections in the UK.
These include a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, table service only in such venues, and the tightening of rules on where fask masks must be worn.
In a joint statement, Mr Merriman and Mrs Hart said: “We both fully support the Government’s aim to reduce the spread of Covid. However, the measures being introduced will also have a profound impact on livelihoods, life chances and liberty.
“Currently, Parliament is not being given the opportunity to debate, or vote on, these new rules. At best, a limited number of MPs rubber stamp the measures without debate and this can be some months after Ministers have brought them in for the country or regions.
“We believe that if Parliament has the opportunity to scrutinise, debate and vote on proposals which impact the lives of our residents then better decisions will be made, with time to iron out any unintended consequences.
“This will also ensure that MPs take ownership of the Government decision thus demonstrate to the nation that Parliament and Government are acting together. We hope the Government will see the strength in this argument and accept our proposal. Many of our colleagues in Parliament feel the same as we do.”
Others who have backed the amendment include ex-Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman.
Powers under the Coronavirus Act have to be reviewed every six months.
The first review will be next Wednesday (September 30).
Talk is increasing of further lockdowns in the UK. What do you think of the situation? Join the Big Conversation and have your say on everything from healthcare to how the pandemic has affected you personally and how we make our communities stronger: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bc-eastbourne.