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extension of leave to remain

Part of Coronavirus Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:52 pm on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda 7:52 pm, 23rd March 2020

I agree, and I do not understand why the Government have gone in this direction. I have been told in several private meetings that it is because they believe that the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 can only be used when they do not know that something is coming down the line, but I think the definition of an “emergency” in section 19 of the 2004 Act would allow for every single thing that we are considering.

I tabled an amendment, and I must apologise to Mark Pritchard, because it is entirely my fault that, by accident, his name ended up on my amendment. I am terribly sorry. If the Government Whips want to beat anybody up, they should beat me up. There is a serious point here, which is that if the Government are going to take draconian powers and give themselves the power to switch them on and off, that should come back to Parliament more frequently even than is allowed for in the Government’s amendment.