No vote for British MPs unhappy about coronavirus restrictions

LONDON — U.K. MPs have failed in their bid to force the government to seek parliamentary approval before adopting new coronavirus restrictions.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle ruled an amendment to legislation renewing COVID-19 regulations should not be put forward for a vote by MPs because he wanted to prevent “uncertainty” and potential legal challenges to lockdown rules.

However, Hoyle slammed the government for treating parliament with “contempt” and for publishing new rules just hours before restrictions come into place and with “unconvincing” explanations.

“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,” he said.

Backbench Tory MPs have been increasingly vocal in recent weeks about the way restrictions designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 have been introduced. The amendment, put forward by senior Tory MP Graham Brady, was reported to have attracted widespread support among Conservative ranks.

Brady told BBC Radio 4’s Today program last week that ministers had “got into the habit of ruling by decree,” citing the “imposition” of the limit of six people meeting for social gatherings.

It is still possible the government will offer concessions to the rebels to try to keep the wider party onside. Earlier on Wednesday, Business Secretary Alok Sharma hinted that the government could try to appease disgruntled MPs. “We are having a look,” he told the BBC.


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