Challenged on why the London government had not followed the path of devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, which have exempted children under the age of 12 and 11 respectively from so-called rule of six limitations on gatherings, business minister Nadim Zahawi said that the move had been taken in England to ensure “simplicity.”
“It goes against the grain, the DNA of a Conservative government to curtail people’s liberties but the evidence suggests that the virus is at its most virulent in those social interactions, in the home, in the pub and outside, which is why we are reluctantly introducing the rule of six,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.
New regulations limiting gatherings in England to no more than six from Monday and moves to have Covid-19 marshals have sparked alarm among some Tory MPs who want parliament to have the power to review measures.
Greater parliamentary scrutiny was needed, according to the Tory former minister Steve Baker, who said it was “now time to say that this is not a fit legal environment for the British people” and that there should be a “voluntary system”.
“And it is time for us to actually start living like a free people, not subjecting ourselves to constantly shifting legal requirements, which I think now no one can fully understand,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“It seems to me the effect of having Covid marshals will be to turn every public space in Britain into the equivalent of going through airport security where we are badgered and directed … I’m not willing to live like this.”
Tougher Covid-19 restrictions expected across Birmingham