Lockdown Regulations

Tory Rebellion Over Extension of Lockdown Regulations Looms

The Government faces a growing rebellion from Tory MPs over the extension of lockdown laws in England. The rebellion will no doubt get added impetus from the brutal behaviour of the Metropolitan Police last night. The Telegraph has the story.

Boris Johnson faces a major rebellion next week from dozens of Conservative MPs over extending lockdown laws in England.

The Coronavirus Act has to be extended for another six months from March 25th while other lockdown measures are due to expire on March 31st.

Downing Street sources indicated that MPs will be given votes on both early next week before Parliament is due to rise for the Easter recess.

Speaking in the Commons on February 21st Mr Johnson told MPs that “yes indeed… there will of course be another vote in this House about these measures before Easter”.

The measures are not amendable so MPs will be faced with having to extend the Coronavirus Act powers by six months until September, even though the PM wants to lift lockdown restrictions in England in June.

The votes come within days of Mr Johnson’s expected meeting with the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs in which he is expected to come under pressure over the lockdowns.

Senior Conservatives… said they expected “dozens” of Tories will vote against the extensions or abstain if the infection rate continues to fall.

On Thursday, Sir Graham Brady, the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, said that lockdown rules will look “silly” if Covid cases continue to fall – to which readers inevitably responded, “They already do look silly?”

Worth reading in full.

Update on Legal Challenge to the Lockdown Regulations

Robin Tilbrook, the solicitor leading one of the legal challenges of the Government’s Lockdown Regulations, has been given a date for an oral permissions hearing for his Judicial Review, which is April 22nd. The hearing, which will decide whether his case can proceed, will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. He has written a guest post for Lockdown Sceptics describing the history of this particular challenge.

I am grateful for all the support that has been given to bringing our Judicial Review case against the ever changing, and multiplying, Lockdown Regulations. I thought you might like to know where I have got to in the process.

I issued the Judicial Review in October. The Ministry of Justice has taken four months to get us to the point where we got our first Order on Permission. In the meanwhile the Government has put in its Defence and I have put in a Reply pointing out the many errors and omissions in the Government’s Defence.

Our case is principally that removing healthy peoples’ liberty is a breach of the English Constitution set out, in among other places, the Bill of Rights 1688 and as vigorously confirmed in Thoburn v Sunderland City Council (DC) [2002] EWHC 195 (Admin), which makes clear that even an Act of Parliament cannot lawfully override constitutional rights (let alone mere Ministerial Regulations).

The first Order that we have obtained was from Mr Justice Holman, who it turns out is not only a Family Division Judge, but also, when in practice as a barrister, specialised in Family Law. He was therefore an interesting choice for the Ministry of Justice to pick as our Judge on a detailed constitutional case! His decision was full of demonstrable errors, which our Counsel has set out in our Notice of Renewal requesting an oral hearing.

I have now been notified of our hearing date in the Royal Courts of Justice, which is on April 22nd.

While all this has been going on we have had generous support for our Crowd Justice Appeal, where you can also find of all the legal documents in the case and read all about it!

This support has enabled me to issue a second Judicial Review to further challenge all the yet further changes that have been made to the Regulations over the last three months.

It has been calculated that the Government has been making changes to the Regulations ever since they first came out in late March 2020 approximately every 4½ days. So with that level of churning of the Regulations you can see that it is quite a job even to keep up with the latest versions of what are often very similar but rebadged Regulations. Perhaps the Government are deliberately churning their Regulations to make it more difficult to challenge them in court!