Boris Johnson braces for brutal clash with MPs over Liverpool lockdown ‘we can’t wait’

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Boris Johnson is believed to be considering new restrictive measures for Liverpool after a concerning spike in new coronavirus infections over the past week. The Prime Minister pledged to give MPs the opportunity to vote on changes to COVID-19 restrictions “whenever possible.” But despite speculation about the new lockdown, Environment Secretary George Eustice signalled Parliament will not be asked to cast their vote on proposals to shut down Liverpool.

BBC Today presenter Nick Robinson questioned Mr Eustice on whether his colleagues in the Commons would be able to vote on the measures should the Government decide to go ahead.

The Conservative frontbencher said: “What the Prime Minister said is that if there are any other further, major changes to the approach we’re taking, yes, there will be a debate and vote in Parliament.

“But when it comes to the local lockdowns, there are powers in the Coronavirus Act, that was passed earlier this year, to enable those targeted measures to happen and to happen quickly.”

Mr Robinson intervened to point out Mr Eustice’s answer effectively confirmed MPs will not be consulted should Liverpool join other UK cities into lockdown.

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The Environment Secretary said: “I think you have to remember that throughout this we have been able to act expeditiously with an evolving situation.

“We had to do that in March, using powers under the 1984 Health Act and yes, we’re having to do that again now.

“You can’t wait necessarily for there to be long deliberation on some of those things. You need the power to act quickly to control the spread of the disease because that’s a main feature of every battle when you’re dealing with an epidemiological challenge like we are.”

Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle on Wednesday accused the Government of having a “total disregard” for Parliament as he demanded more transparency on any future coronavirus measures to be adopted.

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Sir Lindsay insisted “lack of clarity” at uncertain times like the coronavirus pandemic could jeopardise the standing of rule of law.

He said: “I have therefore decided not to select any of the amendments to the motion.

“As I hope my early comments show I have not taken this decision lightly.

“I am looking to the Government to remedy a situation I regard as completely unsatisfactory.

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“I am now looking to the Government to rebuild the trust with this House and not treat it with the contempt that it has shown.”

The Speaker added: “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 responsivity of Parliament ultimately being determined by the courts.”

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