Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett calls for change on the way that new restrictions are imposed by government without notice, debate and voting.

“Last week in parliament a debate took place on coronavirus restrictions,” writes Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett in his latest Express column.

Restrictions: Infection rates are rising in the Wakefield area
Restrictions: Infection rates are rising in the Wakefield area

I supported amendments calling for MPs to have a greater say on restrictions before the government brings them in.

I believe this was the right view to take.

Here, I would like to explain why.

The government has had six months of introducing new Covid-19 restrictions at speed, using emergency legislation powers.

In March I was willing to give the government this space in a time of national crisis, on the condition that these powers could be reviewed after a period of six months.

In the intervening six months this government has made a shambles of managing the UK’s response to Covid-19.

Clearly, the restrictions brought in using emergency legislation powers have not worked.

If they had, the 12.7 million people in England now living under local lockdowns would not be doing so.

I am not against these restrictions. By all means, the government should take action. My concerns lie with the way that this government has gone about it.

Information about coronavirus laws have regularly been announced late at night, coming into effect just hours later.

These restrictions have huge implications for people and businesses yet the public receive next to no notice about them. Not only that, but very little explanation has been given as to why certain restrictions are necessary.

Take weddings for example. Only 15 people can now attend ceremonies, compared to 30 previously.

This rule was passed using emergency powers without chance for parliament to seek an explanation on the thinking behind it.

People’s lives are being compromised in so many ways. They deserve answers for why this is happening.

People are frustrated and feel let down.

The government’s ‘whack-a-mole’ approach to local lockdowns has become far too complex to follow.

Last week even the prime minister, architect of the rules, was unable to answer how and where people were restricted from meeting in the north-east.

Wakefield is the only local authority in West Yorkshire that has so far avoided local lockdown measures.

However, infection rates are rising.

Cases per 100,000 of the population were 35.9 two weeks ago. As of October 5, they are 66.1.

I sincerely hope that here in Wakefield district it does not become necessary for extra restrictions to be introduced.

The health secretary said last week that the government will give MPs a vote before national measures come into force. This means that local restrictions can still be brought in using emergency powers.

I believe that new proposals, including local ones, must be made subject to regular voting in parliament.

I will always speak up for people within our district, holding the government to account for the decisions that they make that impact our lives.