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Committee publishes proposed amendment to new Government Coronavirus lockdown measures

22 September 2020

Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes a draft amendment to the motion required under the Coronavirus Act.

Earlier today the Committee published their Report “The Government's response to COVID-19: human rights implications”, which proposes that the Government must urgently address a number of issues to ensure that its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic is human rights compliant.

The Committee have now published its amendment to the motion that will be the subject of the Coronavirus Act debate (the Government motion will be debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday 30 September):

The motion for debate currently reads “that the temporary provisions of the CV Act 2020 should not yet expire”.

Line 1, leave out from “That” to end and add “agrees that the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 should not yet expire; and that the Government should introduce legislation to make specific provision for Regulations putting in place lockdown restrictions (whether national or local); such legislation must specify that (a) lockdown Regulations shall lapse 7 days from the date when they were laid before Parliament unless they are approved by both Houses of Parliament before that time; (b) fines or fixed penalty notices for breach of such Regulations may only be introduced if the Regulations also provide for an appeal or administrative review mechanism to allow such fines or fixed penalty notices to be challenged; (c) when introducing such Regulations the Minister may produce guidance but that any such guidance must make clear what conduct is unlawful and what conduct is merely being advised; (d) in any such guidance the Minister must ensure consistency between the law and the guidance when explaining what conduct that is unlawful; (e) all new lockdown Regulations (including amendment regulations) must be accompanied by a proportionality assessment; and (f) the Prime Minister must use best endeavours to seek consistency between the national Regulations put in place in the four nations, unless very different circumstances require such measures to diverge; and calls on the Government to scrupulously enforce the Ministerial Code and to amend the Code for Special Advisers to provide that special advisers are expected to comply with the law, to maintain high standards of behaviour, to protect the integrity of public life, to behave in a way that upholds the highest standards of propriety and to observe the Seven Principles of Public Life: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, Leadership.”

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