The Commons Speaker lashed out at the “totally unsatisfactory” way in which the government has introduced new coronavirus laws without parliamentary scrutiny, claiming that Boris Johnson had demonstrated a “total disregard” for MPs.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, speaking before PMQs, accused the prime minister of treating the House of Commons with “contempt” over his use of emergency Covid-19 rules – but ruled out giving MPs a vote on the rebel Brady amendment.
“The way in which the Government has exercised its power to make secondary legislation during this crisis has been totally unsatisfactory,” Sir Lindsay said.
“All too often important statutory instruments have been published a matter of hours before they come into force and some explanations as to why important measures have come into effect before they can be laid before this house has been unconvincing and shows a total disregard for the House.”
MPs will vote later today to renew the powers in the Coronavirus Act, which gives ministers the power to impose sweeping restrictions on the country without parliamentary oversight.
However nearly 60 Tory MPs signed an amendment by the chair of the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, mandating the government to consult parliament on any new rules.
Sir Lindsay said he was not electing the amendment because he wanted to avoid “undermining the rule of law”.
He said: “When I became Speaker I made it clear that I would take decisions on matters relating to procedures guided by professional advice.
“I have concluded on the basis of advice that I received that any amendment to the motion before the House risks giving rise to uncertainty about the decision the House has taken.
“This then risks decisions that are rightly the responsibility of Parliament ultimately being determined by the courts.”
Since you are here
Since you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.
Journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.
Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can't do it without you.
If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.
To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.
The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting our work.
The shop can be found here.
You can also SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER .