Coronaviruses: Speaker Hoyle, who treats members of Parliament in ‘contempt’


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Media captionThe Speaker called for the government to begin “rebuilding trust” after accusing the government of showing “contempt” for the House.

The government has dealt with “contempt” through new powers to deal with coronaviruses without debate in Parliament, the Commons speaker said.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said they could not vote on MPs having a big say on renewing emergency powers later.

But it was not a decision he had “taken lightly” – and he issued stern warnings to the government to give lawmakers the chance to debate future policy changes.

His rule eliminates the possibility of a backbench Conservative rebellion.

Dozens of Tory MPs were supporting an amendment made by senior Tory MP Sir Graham Brady, which called for future regulations to affect the whole of England if there is an opportunity to debate and vote on them in Parliament

In a statement before the Prime Minister’s questions, Sir Lindsay said he was unable to select any amendment further by a vote on the renewal of powers to avoid “undermining the rule of law”.

The lawmakers are due to vote on a resolution that would expand the Coronovirus Act, an emergency law passed in March that gives authorities broad authority to deal with Kovid, such as the closure of schools and mass gatherings.

Sir Lindsay said the amendment to this motion posed a risk of uncertainty about the legality of the act, and possibly opened up the court’s challenge.

But a number of coronovirus measures introduced since March, such as the mandate to wear face masks in stores and the “Rule of Six” at gatherings, have been introduced through rules associated with an earlier piece of legislation.

These rules – known as statutory instruments – must be approved by Parliament, but are often not debated.

Sir Lindsay told MPs: “The way the government has exercised its powers to enact secondary legislation during this crisis is completely unsatisfactory.

“All often important statutory instruments are published for a few hours before they come into force and significant measures have been carried out before this House is disaffiliated and the total disregard of the House by them.”

He said that he “sees the government rebuilding the trust with the House, which does not treat it with the contempt shown”.

He encouraged MPs to challenge ministers and introduce more questions and motions for them to come to the Commons to explain their actions.

BBC political editor Laura Kuensberg said that “all is not well between Downing Street and the Conservative Party’s backbench” but an agreement between the two sides was expected to be announced in the Commons by Health Secretary Matt Hancock soon.

Speaking on Politics Live on BBC Two, she said it was “fascinating” that Speaker Kovid-19 is encouraging immediate questions and debate over the ban, especially as Sir Lindsay Hoyle is not an “activist speaker” in a way that her predecessor John was Berko.

A Whitehall source told the BBC that there had been “constructive dialogue” between the government and potential rebels, including how to handle any future anti-Kovid-related rules, and that “the two sides would balance the government’s parliamentary scrutiny” Recognize the need so that faster work can be done. ” whenever necessary”.

Sir Graham, who is the chairman of the influential 1922 committee of Tory MPs, said he expected the government to make concessions.

‘good agreement’

In a statement, he said: “The Speaker laid down his reasons for not choosing any amendments but he also clarified that he hoped the government would ensure a fair and timely parliamentary inquiry.”

“I hope the government will give a fair reply this afternoon.”

Conservative MP Steve Baker, one of those seeking more scrutiny over the government’s powers, said he was satisfied with the Speaker’s decision.

“Mr Speaker’s decision is completely justified and his statement will reassure all MPs supporting Sir Graham.

“I hope and hope to get a good agreement with the government soon so that we can move forward as a team.”

Vote later

The Commons will vote in March to renew the Coronavirus law passed at the onset of the epidemic, which gives the government broad authority to act, but must be extended every six months.

At least 16.6 million people in the UK – one in four – are subject to local lockdown – and a growing number of MPs have expressed their concern that the measures are disproportionate even as requested by local leaders.

MPs are worried about recent interventions – announced Wednesday with a tightening of restrictions on individual homes in the north east of England to mix indoors in public spaces – with little warning or debate.

In the meantime, Lib Dems said they would vote against expanding the Coronovirus Act because the power gave ministers to “reduce rights” for carers.

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