by danielbarker on 7 October, 2020
The Liberal Democrats voted against the Coronavirus Act because of the Prime Minister’s failure to reverse the reductions in rights to care for vulnerable people, particularly the disabled.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey warned he had “deep reservations about the serious implications for people’s wellbeing, rights and freedoms” and made clear the provision of care was a “red line.”
The MP, himself a carer for his disabled son and a patron of the Disability Law Service, wrote to the Prime Minister ahead of the vote to stress the legal advice shows that the measures in the Act are a breach of the UK’s obligations under international law.
The Liberal Democrats, who supported emergency measures before the UK went into lockdown, have also pointed to 141 people wrongly prosecuted under the Act and the reduction in safeguards for detention under the Mental Health Act as reasons to withhold their support.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
“To save lives through this pandemic, the Liberal Democrats have supported and continue to support all necessary measures to keep people safe – including the lockdowns and face-covering requirements.
“However, I have deep reservations about the serious implications for people’s wellbeing, rights and freedoms. Most alarming to me is the watering down of care for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. That is a red line issue.
“Just imagine what that has meant for those children and their families. On top of all the other hardships of lockdown, having the lifeline of caring support cut off completely.
“I have appealed to the Prime Minister to listen and heed the legal advice, but he has refused. Liberal Democrat MPs were therefore unable to vote for an Act that fails to care for the most vulnerable, sees people wrongfully charged and gives Ministers a blank cheque.”
In a vote in the House of Commons, non-LibDem MPs voted to back extending the powers in the emergency legislation pushed through by the government earlier in the coronavirus pandemic.
However the Liberal Democrats and six Labour MPs (who defied the Labour whip) plus six Tory rebels voted against.
A final word on this from Walsall Council’s Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Ian Shires.
Just wonder where that leaves the people of Walsall? Does it mean that the Tories, who currently control Walsall Council, can continue to use the COVID-19 Pandemic as an excuse for a power grab, ensuring that there is no room for opposition Lib Dem or Labour Councillors in the decision making process and further concentrating power into the hands of the 9 Tory cabinet members?
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