I tabled my own alternative Coronavirus (No 2) Bill

File photo dated 04/12/20 of police officers on patrol around cafes and pubs in Cardiff. Nine Metrop

MP Dawn Butler says the original Coronavirus Bill handed sweeping new powers to police - Credit: PA Images

One year ago, the government’s Coronavirus Act was rushed through parliament. It handed sweeping new powers to police, including the power to detain anyone “potentially infectious”. It lowered care standards, enabled the postponement of elections and threatened the right to protest. 

While national data from the first lockdown showed that people of colour were 54 per cent more likely to be fined than white people. 

The government prioritised criminal justice, punishment and control, while failing to support those most at risk. This Act is a blanket of draconian powers which the government wrapped itself in.

Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central.

Dawn Butler voted against the renewal of the original Coronavirus Bill - Credit: Office of Dawn Butler

I voted against its renewal because it contained sweeping, unaccountable powers. I tabled my own alternative Coronavirus (No 2) Bill, based on lessons learned in the pandemic and SAGE advice.

It builds on the fantastic Protect Everyone Bill, launched by human rights organisation Liberty. It ensures proper sick pay; creates safeguards for those in rented accommodation; ensuring homeless people are also cared for; better and more accessible social welfare and much more. 

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I am disappointed that, in the end, MPs voted to renew the Coronavirus Act, but it is not too late for an alternative path and I’m calling on MPs to support my Bill. The prime minister also pledged to read and respond to my Bill, and I look forward to his response. 

Over 127,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the UK, it is time to do things differently. Let’s repeal the outdated Coronavirus Act and replace it with my Coronavirus (No. 2) Bill. 

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