Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Parliament approves revised three-tier restrictions for England

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Parliament approves revised three-tier restrictions for England

On 1 December 2020, MPs voted to approve regulations imposing new coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures in England from 2 December 2020. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) were introduced under the made affirmative procedure on 30 November 2020, requiring parliamentary approval within 28 days to remain in force. The Regulations entered into force on 2 December 2020 and expire on 2 February 2021. The House of Lords consideration of the Regulations followed after the Commons proceedings.

Following the Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament on 23 November 2020, the Cabinet Office published the government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, including the revised tiers. The lockdown measures came into effect on 2 December 2020 and lapse on 2 February 2021, earlier than originally planned. For more detail, see: LNB News 23/11/2020 114.

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that future decisions on which tier each local authority will fall under after the national lockdown is lifted on 2 December 2020 will be made through a national command structure. A first review of the allocations will take place on 16 December 2020. For more detail, see: LNB News 26/11/2020 42.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, SI 2020/1374, were introduced under the made affirmative procedure on 30 November 2020, requiring approval of both Houses of Parliament within 28 days to remain in force. The House of Commons and the House of Lords considered motions to approve the Regulations on 1 December 2020.

MPs held their vote first, approving the measures by 291 votes to 78. This was followed by the House of Lords debate which also approved the measures. A motion of regret, stating ‘that this House regrets that the restrictions being introduced to address the COVID-19 pandemic were not informed by a wide and detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of the possible measures to be adopted’, was rejected by 246 votes to 64.

To view the transcripts, see:

• Hansard, House of Commons, 1 December 2020

• Hansard, House of Lords, 1 December 2020

For a background briefing on these proceedings, see: House of Lords Library—Covid-19: Revised tiers for England.

For further reading on the Regulations, see: Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, LNB News 01/12/2020 16.

For further reading on the measures applicable for each tier, see: 

• Local restriction tiers: what you need to know

• Guidance for the Christmas period

Source: Hansard, House of Commons, 1 December 2020

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