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Covid-19 Pandemic and the Coronavirus Act 2020

Volume 811: debated on Thursday 25 March 2021

Motion to Regret

Moved by

That this House expresses its sorrow at the 126,000 deaths in the UK caused by the Covid-19 pandemic; regrets that Her Majesty’s Government failed to learn the lessons from the earlier stages of the pandemic in order to prepare for the winter of 2020-21 and is therefore continuing to treat each development as a new public health emergency; further regrets that some of the powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 have caused confusion amongst police and prosecutors, leading to more than 252 people being wrongfully charged; further regrets that despite provision for payments to the self-employed and those self-isolating, too many have been unable to claim payments due to the rules; regrets that the one year status report was presented to Parliament only three days before debate, along with substantial Regulations for the House to consider at the same time; and therefore calls on Her Majesty’s Government to publish a comprehensive plan to manage surges in cases through quarantine, test, trace and isolate to prevent the importation and increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 and any new variants.

My Lords, I start by thanking the experts in the broadcasting unit for getting us up and running again after that technical problem. They do a wonderful, but invisible, job and I am always grateful for their patience. I thank the Minister for his careful and considered response, but it did not actually address the key issues that I was raising. I also thank all today’s speakers. From every part of your Lordships’ House, Members have told the Government very bluntly of their many and serious concerns. Their message is clear: the Government, having taken powers to themselves, should immediately both deal with the legislation that needs to be amended or repealed and learn the lesson of what has gone so badly wrong over the past year, to prevent repeats in the future.

I hope that noble Lords will also join me in supporting my Motion to Regret, which will send a message to the heart of government to take that action now. I beg to move and wish to test the opinion of the House.