Covid-19 Restrictions

Attorney General – in the House of Commons on 24th September 2020.

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Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown

What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effectiveness of the legal framework governing covid-19 restrictions.

Photo of Suella Braverman Suella Braverman The Attorney-General

I speak frequently to Cabinet colleagues on various matters relating to Government business, including measures taken on covid. Everyone has made huge sacrifices this year to protect the NHS and save lives, and most people are still following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus, but we do need to act now to stop the virus spreading.

Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown

But does the Attorney General not agree that greater parliamentary scrutiny would prevent some of the wrong convictions and charges, and enable the police to better enforce the law?

Photo of Suella Braverman Suella Braverman The Attorney-General

The Coronavirus Act 2020 was put before Parliament and went through every stage that a Bill is expected to go through. Any regulations made under it are also subject to parliamentary approval. There is also a sunset provision in the Coronavirus Act, which means it will expire automatically after two years, if not extended. There is a parliamentary review every six months, which will give this Parliament the chance—for example, this coming Wednesday—to vote on a motion stating that the Act should not end.

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

It does. In her response to me a few moments ago, the Attorney General said that I intervened in the case of Miller v. Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. I did not intervene in that case, and perhaps if the Attorney General had read the case more closely, particularly paragraph 55, which I referred her to, she would know that I was not a party or an intervener in that case. I think she is getting it mixed up with the case of Cherry v. Advocate General for Scotland, in which a year ago today, the United Kingdom Supreme Court ruled that her Government’s action in proroguing Parliament was unlawful. I was not an intervener in that case; I was the lead litigant, and it is great to get an opportunity to mention it on the Floor of the House today and to celebrate that great victory for the rule of law, made in Scotland.

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

In fairness, I wanted to give the hon. and learned Lady the opportunity to make her point of order. That has been corrected, and I am sure that the Attorney General will accept what she has said. It is not a point of order for me, but the correction has now been made.

In order to allow the safe exit of hon. Members participating in this item of business and the safe arrival of those participating in the next, I am suspending the House for three minutes.

Sitting suspended.