Munira will be voting against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act today because of the Prime Minister’s failure to reverse the reductions in rights to care for vulnerable people, particularly the disabled.

Munira challenges the Prime Minister

Munira has today challenged the Prime Minister directly on the impact of the Act on disabled people, children and the elderly.

Munira challenged:

“The Prime Minister has reportedly said that improving the lives of disabled people is a personal mission.

But his Coronavirus Act has watered down the right to care for the most vulnerable. particularly the disabled, children with special needs and those struggling with mental ill health.

So how does renewing the Act today in full, stack up with his personal mission, never mind his conscience, and will he finally commit to working cross-party to replace these draconian laws to ensure we protect our most vulnerable and safeguard our liberties?”

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, responded:

“We are making sure that everybody in our society gets all the protections that they need.

I’m aware of the easements that she refers to in the Care Act and we are determined that people should, and the necessity that we temporarily had to put them in, we now need to make sure we give everybody the protection that they need and that’s what this Government will do.”

Munira’s position on the renewal of the Coronavirus Act

In response to how Munira will vote on the renewal of the Coronavirus Act today, Munira said:

“The Liberal Democrats and I have supported and will continue to support all necessary measures to keep people safe and save lives during this pandemic.

Some of the provisions in the Act have proven necessary to tackle the impact of the virus, such as enabling the emergency registration of nurses and other healthcare workers.

However, many of the powers in the Act have serious implications for people’s wellbeing, rights and freedoms. In particular, the Act waters down the rights of vulnerable people to access the vital care they need. This is a red line for me.

Furthermore, many of the measures the Government have put in place to curb the spread of the virus are not reliant on the Coronavirus Act. The combination of different emergency laws and government guidance has caused confusion among police and prosecutors, and 141 people have been wrongfully charged under the Act as a result.

If the Government were to address my concerns on this, or to respond positively to the Liberal Democrats’ request for a cross-party approach to replacing this legislation, the Government would have my support. 

However, as it stands, the Liberal Democrats and I cannot support renewal of the Act in full after its first six months. The Act fails to care for the most vulnerable, sees people wrongfully charged and gives Minister’s a blank cheque.

I believe that new legislation is needed, both to preserve any parts of the Coronavirus Act that are still necessary, and to bring in new measures to tackle the next phase of this crisis.”