Senior Tories plot backlash against PM's emergency curbs on freedoms during pandemic

It's time for Parliamentary scrutiny of Covid-19 restrictions, says chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs

Sir Graham Brady said: "There is now no justification for ministers ruling by emergency powers without reference to normal democratic processes"
Sir Graham Brady said: "There is now no justification for ministers ruling by emergency powers without reference to normal democratic processes" Credit: Eddie Mulholland

Senior Tories are planning to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposing limits on people's freedoms without scrutiny by forcing Parliament to have the final say on new lockdown measures, The Telegraph can reveal.

MPs vote next week on "the renewal of temporary provisions" of lockdown measures under the Coronavirus Act 2020 to reauthorise the Government's use of the powers.

Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs, is planning to use this opportunity to amend this legislation to require ministers to put all new measures to a vote of MPs first.

The move will effectively impose a “Parliamentary lock” on any future restrictions, amid widespread fury among senior MPs and peers that restrictions have been imposed on Britons without a vote.

Sir Graham said: "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.

"It is essential that going forward all of these massively important decisions for family life, and affecting people's jobs and businesses should be exercised with proper supervision and control."  

Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle s understood to have been angry that Matt Hancock imposed further lockdown restrictions on his constituency without telling Parliament first Credit: Jessica Taylor/Shutterstock

Separately, The Telegraph can reveal Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the Commons, is understood to have been angered when Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, imposed further lockdown restrictions on his constituency without telling Parliament first.

Tory MPs were in uproar over plans to impose the 'rule of six' on Monday September 14, without a debate in the Commons. The legislation means that anyone who gathers in a group of seven or more including children, indoors or outdoors, can be fined £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.

The separate £1,000 fines for anyone who breaches self-isolation rules – announced by No 10 on Saturday evening – are also likely to come into force on September 28 without any Parliamentary scrutiny.

Any amendment tabled by Sir Graham is likely to attract a large amount of support among Conservative MPs, many of whom share his concerns.

One Tory MP said: "There will be a big rebellion on this."

A No 10 spokesman said: "It’s absolutely vital that MPs are engaged in this process as these decisions have a huge impact on them and their constituents, and we will continue to discuss these plans with all MPs."