Former head of the Supreme Court Baroness Hale says Parliament ‘surrendered’ its powers as ‘sweeping, draconian’ emergency laws were passed to cope with coronavirus
- Baroness Brenda Hale criticised the ‘sweeping’ powers being enforced on public
- She urged ministers to restore a ‘properly functioning constitution’ to the UK
- Comes as Government seeks to extend emergency coronavirus powers for further six months
The supreme court’s first female president has said Parliament ‘surrendered’ its powers over to the Government amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Baroness Brenda Hale, who served as president at the UK’s highest court from 2017- 2020, criticised the draconian measures and ‘sweeping’ powers being enforced on the British public without the scrutiny of Parliament.
Her comments come as the Government seeks to extend the emergency coronavirus powers for a further six months in an effort to control a second devastating wave of coronavirus.
Baroness Brenda Hale, who served as president at the UK’s highest court from 2017- 2020, criticised ‘sweeping’ powers being enforced on the public without the scrutiny of Parliament
In an essay seen by The Guardian, the baroness wrote: ‘It is not surprising the police were as confused as the public as to what was law and what was not.’
Referencing the Prime Minister’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings, Baroness Hale went on to describe how there was confusion among Government ministers themselves as to what the rules were.
She continued: ‘A certain government adviser obviously did know what the regulations were and what they said.’
Baroness Hale also explained that Parliament ‘did surrender control to the government at a crucial time’ and urged ministers to now restore a ‘properly functioning constitution’.
She added: ‘My plea is that we get back to a properly functioning constitution as soon as we possibly can.’
The baroness’ calls come as senior Tories plan a parliamentary lock to prevent Boris Johnson having the final say on new lockdown measures after restrictions on the public’s freedom, such as the Rule of Six, were introduced without a debate in the Commons.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, is planning to table an amendment that would force ministers to put any new measures to a vote first.
This week it was revealed that Tories plan a parliamentary lock to prevent Boris Johnson having the final say on new lockdown measures
Sir Graham Brady (pictured) is looking to force a vote by MPs on emergency coronavirus measures
The move comes as Boris Johnson announced that anyone in England who refuses to obey an order to self-isolate could face a fine of up to £10,000.
The Altrincham and Sale West MP told The Sunday Telegraph that he would take the opportunity to seek to amend the legislation when the Government comes to renew the emergency powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020.
The move is likely to attract significant support from Conservative MPs unhappy at the extensive powers taken by ministers with little or no parliamentary scrutiny.
Sir Graham told the Telegraph: ‘In March, Parliament gave the Government sweeping emergency powers at a time when Parliament was about to go into recess and there was realistic concern that NHS care capacity might be overwhelmed by Covid-19.
‘We now know that the NHS coped well with the challenge of the virus and Parliament has been sitting largely since April.
‘There is now no justification for ministers ruling by emergency powers without reference to normal democratic processes.’