UK parliamentary Speaker accuses government of bypassing lawmakers on virus measures

UK parliamentary Speaker accuses government of bypassing lawmakers on virus measures
epa08691424 A handout picture made available by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during Prime Minister's questions in the House of Commons in London, Britain, 23 September 2020. EPA-EFE/JESSICA TAYLOR / UK PARLIAMENT HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT: UK PARLIAMENT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Britain's parliamentary Speaker reprimanded Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government on Wednesday for disregarding the House of Commons with its COVID-19 measures, calling on ministers to better include lawmakers in their decisions.


But Lindsay Hoyle decided against allowing lawmakers the chance to consider a so-called amendment to a vote on the extension of emergency laws to impose restrictions that would have made sure parliament played a greater role.

Several lawmakers from Johnson’s own Conservative party have threatened to rebel against the government over renewing the Coronavirus Act, which some said had allowed it to govern by diktat and deprive people of their civil liberties.

A rebellion would dent Johnson’s authority and ministers have been trying to defuse any revolt by promising parliament they would involve it more.

“The way in which the government has exercised its powers to make secondary legislation during this crisis has been totally unsatisfactory,” Hoyle told parliament, adding some explanations the government had offered on why it had bypassed parliament showed a “total disregard” for lawmakers.

“The government must make greater efforts to prepare measures more quickly, so that this House can debate and decide upon the most significant measures at the earliest possible point,” he added.

But he said he would not allow parliament to vote on an amendment by senior Conservative Graham Brady which would force the government to get parliamentary approval before any further national restrictions were imposed.

“I now look to the government to rebuild trust with this House and not treat it with the contempt that it has shown,” he said. (Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider
Elections24 Newsletter Banner

On May 29 2024, South Africans will make their mark in another way.

Get your exclusive, in-depth Election 2024 newsletter curated by Ferial Haffajee delivered straight to your inbox.