Winter lockdown fears as Boris Johnson could extend Covid powers for a further six months
Boris Johnson could be set to extend Covid powers by six months, leading to fears the UK could face another winter lockdown.
The Prime Minister could face serious backlash from backbench MPs over his bid to keep the legal restrictions for the near future, according to reports.
The vote on extending the powers is set to be the first major parliamentary battle after Parliament returns next week after recess.
Mr Johnson reportedly wants to keep the Coronavirus Act enshrined in law until March 2022. In March, the act will automatically lapse due to its two-year anniversary.
This legislation allows authorities and police to restrict public gatherings, close premises and enforce self-isolation. The act also supports many pandemic safety procedures, such as protecting renters from eviction and the guarantee of sick pay for those who have been made to quarantine due to the virus.
Previously, Tory MPs rebelled against the vote on extending Covid powers in March this year, with 35 MPs voting against further lockdowns.
Conservative MP Mark Harper, who is the leader of Covid Recovery Group, told The Financial Times: ‘We have seen a dramatic and welcome fall in people suffering from serious disease and death from Covid as a result.
‘We are going to have to learn to live with this virus. What justification can there be for extending these measures?’
The Coronavirus Act can also include laws that are designed to improve the state’s response to the pandemic.
These can include deaths being registered by phone rather than in person, with patients being cremated without a second doctors approval.
It can also suspend the need for specific inquests involving Covid-19 to be held with a jury.
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