Graham Brady’s Covid rebellion has the numbers to succeed

Tory MPs are ready to rebel against government by decree

The likelihood of executive mission creep was foreseen back in March by David Davis and Steve Baker who pushed the government into adopting an amendment reducing from two years to six months the period in which the powers of the Coronavirus Act must be renewed by parliament. That renewal debate will now take place next Wednesday.

However, having been enacted as a statutory motion, it is unlikely that The Speaker will permit a simple amendment to the Act. Rebels would therefore have to rubber-stamp the legislation as a whole or repeal it as a whole – there will be no opportunity to fine-tune. Very few MPs would be prepared to vote down the Act in its entirety. Any such rebellion would be an exercise in political futility.

But an alternative avenue remains open. Whilst the legislation may be declared unamendable, Sir Graham Brady could seek a scrutiny clause appended to the end of the Act. Rebels are pinning their hopes on this prospect. They may find a friend in the The Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who has already made clear his intense irritation with Matt Hancock’s disregard for informing parliament first of major legal changes like the “rule of six” and for the government’s brusque imposition of restrictions in his own Chorley constituency.

What this scrutiny postscript may encompass is now a subject of negotiation between Brady and the government although the principle would be that fresh regulations would require parliamentary approval before they could be enforced.

Given the potentially large number of regulations this involves, including those that the government might seek to implement when parliament is not in session (for instance during the coming Christmas recess), the government may argue that such a provision is unrealistic in the current climate.

But a precedent was created in the drafting of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act for the creation of the European Statutory Instruments Committee as a sifting committee. This committee would review what “made negative” statutory instruments should be converted into “made affirmative” statutory instruments.

According to research by the Hansard Society, this year the government has so far laid over 230 Coronavirus-related statutory instruments before parliament. But of these, 175 were “made negative” procedures which ministers signed into law. They will remain the law unless parliament actively annuls them within 40 days. A further 53 have been “made affirmative” statutory instruments whereby the minister still enjoys the initiative of signing the measures into law but they will cease to be legal unless actively approved by the Commons (often the Lords too) within a statutory period ranging from 28 to 40 days. A sifting committee could determine which statutory instruments should fall into the category of draft affirmative – which a minister cannot sign into law unless the draft is approved by both Houses following a debate (or the Commons on its own if it is a financial statutory instrument).

The appeal of such a mechanism is obvious to Tory backbenchers concerned that laws are being made without scrutiny and are difficult to repeal. But there is no in-principle reason why Opposition parties need object to such a parliamentary safeguard either. Hence the likelihood of a rebellion having the numbers to succeed next Wednesday.

As Steve Baker puts it, “too many MPs aren’t really persuaded any more that these restrictions are proportionate. The fuss is about trying to get the government to do less in restraining our liberties. There’s a row about the scientific evidence and what it means. There’s a row about whether that evidence justifies the lockdown measures that have been taken. How does parliament force the government’s hand? The renewal of Coronavirus Act is the moment.”




2 Responses to “Graham Brady’s Covid rebellion has the numbers to succeed”

  1. Aldous says:

    “This is a war that will not be over by Christmas.”

    I’m not sure it will even be over by Easter which I think is the satanists’ primary target, being a genuine Christian fesival as opposed to the pagan origin of Christmas where many of those traditions are still (unwittingly?) practiced:

    Easter of course is on a lunar cycle and can fall between March 22nd (very rare, next one 2285) and 25th April (next one 2038).

    Easter Sunday 2021 is on 4th April, so it’s my guess that they intend to continue the lockdown past this date and possibly indefinitely unless they are somehow stopped.
    I’m not sure the 1922 backbenchers and opposition parties will come together on this but where there’s life there’s hope I suppose – but is the devil in the detail?

    “…the principle would be that fresh regulations would require parliamentary approval before they could be enforced” signifying to me that the present draconian, wrecking-ball measures will remain in force. Just a thought and I’m left thinking that all this ‘too little too late’ (false?) opposition to what has already been allowed to happen is pure theatre, the damage having been done with no way (or point) in closing this Pandora’s nightmare of a box that all these evils have (been allowed) to escape from and all we are left with inside is hope.

    • Tapestry says:

      I agree Aldous. What gets MPs to move their backsides is the upsurge of any new party in their own backyard. UKIP had not one MP (bar Carswell etc) but leveraged Brexit and the keeping of the Pound. The party which wants law to be brought back is the English Democrats. I don’t hold with all their policies but do really like the idea of laws being needed to be passed constitionally, not by decree. If the EDs could turn their growth into a threat to MPs, you might see some real moves from the Brady bunch towards bringing back the Constitution. Leaving Brexit should make that more possible/likely. And CANZUK might also make democratic tradition and Common Law more likely to return. Although all of our four countries are overrun by Satanic cults.

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