Since the emergence of COVID-19, much Parliamentary business has been focused on this area and The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020*¹and The Coronavirus Act 2020*² represent “the most drastic restrictions on liberty ever seen in the United Kingdom“. By providing briefings on Parliamentary business, SOAS ICOP’s work will inevitably be focused on this extraordinary yet temporary legislation. We will endeavour to facilitate discussions about when and how these powers will be returned and relevant briefings will be collated below.
The views expressed in SOAS COP Briefings are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of SOAS.
*¹ The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 which relate to “the lockdown” state that “The Secretary of State must review the need for restrictions and requirements imposed by these Regulations at least once every 21 days, with the first review being carried out by 16th April 2020”
*² The Coronavirus Act was passed on 25th March 2020 and represents an unprecedented loss of liberty for citizens of the UK. The Act states that Parliament must ensure that the provisions cease beyond 25th Sept 2020, unless they pass the motion written into the act “That the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 should not yet expire”. This motion must be passed every six months thereafter for the provisions to continue
The coronavirus has exposed how successive governments’ austerity programmes have failed
to protect the most vulnerable in society. It has also revealed how the lack of an adequate
welfare state has made us all less safe. The current Government’s slow response to the virus,
waiting until March to respond, when they could have done so in January has further
exacerbated these issues. They must now act decisively, but it is vital that MPs scrutinise
the Coronavirus Bill and ensure that the correct response is now followed.
21st March 2020