MPs extend emergency Covid laws by six months

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MPs extend emergency Covid laws by six months


The coronavirus law has been extended until the fall by lawmakers (Photo: PA / Getty / AFP / North News)

MPs voted today to extend emergency Covid laws until the fall.

The coronavirus law came into force in March last year, as the pandemic first hit UK shores. This gave the government the power to shut down sites and prevent people from traveling as part of the national effort to contain the virus.

Its renewal went through the Commons today with 484 votes against 76, creating a majority of 408.

Last year, ministers promised emergency measures would only be used “when strictly necessary” – a sentiment expressed today by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the Commons.

He noted that 12 provisions of the legislation had been dropped due to the improvement in the UK situation amid the pandemic.

Hancock told MPs ahead of the vote: “While this law remains essential and there are things we want to see renewed, we have always said we will only keep the powers as long as they are needed.

Matt Hancock said the powers would only be retained “as long as they are needed” (Photo: Getty Images)

“These are exceptional powers and they are approved by this House for use in the most extreme situations and must be viewed in that light.

“And as a result of the progress we have made, we are now able to expire and suspend a whole series of measures under this law, just as we expired provisions after the last review six months ago. . ”

Women wearing masks getting off a London Underground, people playing golf and couples enjoying city views outside.

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Hancock said he was unable to say whether the coronavirus law would be withdrawn in six months or extended again, adding that any prediction would be “hasty.”

The extension of the law provides the legal framework for Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of the lockout, which aims to see all restrictions on social contact end by June 21 at the earliest.

The laws have already attracted strong criticism from some MPs, including those from the Conservative Party.

A commuter wearing a face mask in the lobby of Waterloo Station during the morning rush hour in London, as England's third national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus continues.  Photo PA.  Photo date: Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Under increased measures, people can no longer leave their homes without a reasonable excuse and schools must close for most students.  See the PA HEALTH story Coronavirus.  Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones / PA Wire

The laws have drawn criticism from some MPs (Photo: PA)

Steve Baker, vice president of the Covid Recovery Group, previously described the laws as “excessive and disproportionate” as he called for their end.

He said on Sunday: “With so many vulnerable people now vaccinated, people may wonder why the restrictions the government is imposing this coming week are tougher than they were last summer, when we did. had no vaccine.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey also accused the government of making ‘false statements’ to extend the laws, and argued that this showed they had learned ‘nothing’ during the pandemic .

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