Live tweeting now (thread) -

Delegated Legislation Committee - Oral evidence: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)

parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/a0…
It's audio only and poor quality at that.

Summary of businesses which were recently allowed to reopen, discussion about requirement to ease restrictions
Now summarising Rule of 6 that comes into force today.

"Measures are not a second national lockdown" but to prevent the need for one.
'We're starting to return to life as normal' (?!) but as winter approaches, spread of COVID must be kept under control.
Questions now begin

"Regs came into effect 7 weeks ago, we are debating these regs too late once again, it is an issue I've had to raise each and every time we have debated the health protection regulations at committee"
"We're many months down the line, many months after initial crisis... I'm not the only person to raise concerns that the government continues to table business in a way that does not provide time to ensure the proposed changes are debated before they become law"
"It still appears they believe a rubber-stamping exercise 7 weeks down the line is sufficient to meet their democratic obligations. Well, I disagree. Parliamentary scrutiny is not something that can be ditched because timing is inconvenient. These regulations are too important...
"... not to be debated and given timely and full parliamentary scrutiny. Senior members of the govt have raised these issues in the chamber only last Thursday... Over the weekend the airwaves were full of members expressing their concerns in respect to the regulations"
Regulations were only made public last night at 2345, 15 minutes before they became law.

"I ask whether those regulations will be debated in 7 weeks time as well. Because although we do not have recess to contend with now, we do have more than 17 other regulations...
"... that have come into effect that have not yet been debated, and that... doesn't include the 4 others that have come into effect and then been revoked without ever being debated. That is no way to manage legilsation, that is no way to govern...
"... the government's handling of the pandemic has been too slow throughout, and they continue to be too slow in bringing legislation to the House."
Another person (no way of knowing who these are BTW):

We have to ensure we debate, otherwise the public won't support.
Discussion now about government's behaviour and being 'within the rule of law', and that it's important it's not seen to think its above the rule of law.
Second concern (this is an opposition person, no idea who) - asking about whether the scientific opinion that underlies the restrictions is now out of date

*KLAXON!*
Ugh, what a disappointment, he's just focusing on increased case counts and R number.
Situation has 'moved on', can the minister update us on the latest scientific advice?
Should any of these relaxations should be reversed?
The scientific evidence behind these (relaxation) decisions have not been stated. Is there a chance they could lead to an increase in transmission rates.
"We have also not seen the legally required reviews of this legislation, and we now it is a requirement of the regulations that the secretary of state must review them every 28 days, so the first review was due by the 31st of July, which also means the second review...
was due by the end of August. Why then have we not seen the findings of these reviews prior to the debates to inform our decision making today?"

[Again, no impact assessment submitted alongside these regulation changes]
Minister now responding:

"We recognise that timely scrutiny is important, and I would say that there is substantial scrutiny of decisions made by government for instance multiple oral statements and numerous urgent questions responded to by government ministers...
"..& there is certainly a great deal of challenge on the decisions that are made. However, throughout the pandemic and even up till now, we continue to need to act rapidly, we need to make rapid decisions to make restrictions unfortunately to some people's normal ways of living..
".. when we can see that there are growing risks... and also we want to be able to take rapid decisions to reduce those restrictions, recognising the difficulties that it causes for people in going about their lives, whether that's in their.. relationships, and their livelihoods"
"We are now in a different time.. but we are still continuing to learn all the time.. from in fact the greater data that we now have..

We know that... the virus is spreading largely through people's social interactions"
Not generally in workplaces, risks for children schools are very low...
"We cannot get to the situation where we have the same situation as we had earlier on in the year, it means we absolutely have to continue to be vigilant-"
(Gives way to a question):

"Is it the case then that the relaxations we've talked about today are not contributing to an increase in transmission?"
Minister: (I'll keep it brief, she said yes that's right)
END

(Someone must have needed a wee)
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Parliament debate NOW on COVID-19

parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/f9…
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ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulati…
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bath.ac.uk/projects/the-p…
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(Not live tweeting, just some highlights)

parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/1e…
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As good a time as any to post this...

'Lockdown is over anyway'

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