I’m aware of an increasing sense that the Government has not sufficiently been held to account by Parliament regarding coronavirus restrictions. The reality is the Government has been held to account continually by MPs. Yesterday, Parliament debated and voted on the renewal of the Coronavirus Act. There have been dozens of Urgent Questions and Ministerial Statements on coronavirus in the House of Commons on a near daily basis.
The fast-changing nature of the current situation has meant that Parliament has been focusing on the strategic issues and it would not be possible for it to consider every change to every restriction in small geographical areas. As a result of pressure from MPs this week, the Government has agreed that it will give MPs the final say and vote on any significant new restrictions.
Many of the people who have contacted me have suggested that they would like to see fewer restrictions. I too wish that they were not needed. However, this is a separate issue to the one of parliamentary scrutiny. Currently there is broad support in Parliament and the country for the restrictions which have been put in place to protect everyone.
However, the number of cases and deaths are increasing again. People need to remember that by not acting we run the risk of seeing many hundreds of deaths a day again. I’m afraid too many of those who contact me about relaxing restrictions don’t believe they or their loved ones are at risk. This simply isn’t true. Meanwhile Parliament continues to do important work scrutinising the Government to ensure that the risk presented by coronavirus is controlled and the wider impacts on the economy and society are dealt with.