Government accused of 'covert mission creep' and 'attempting to terrify Brits' in Covid-19 response

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Conservative politicians have accused the Government of "covert mission creep" and trying to "terrify the British people" in its response to the surge in Covid-19 cases.  The Tory backlash to further restrictions emerged as the House of Commons embarked on a lengthy debate on the Covid-19 crisis on Monday.
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Conservative politicians have accused the Government of "covert mission creep" and trying to "terrify the British people" in its response to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Tory backlash to further restrictions emerged as the House of Commons embarked on a lengthy debate on the Covid-19 crisis on Monday.

MPs will vote on Wednesday on whether to renew the powers in the Coronavirus Act. It comes as Mr Johnson is under increasing pressure to give Parliament the opportunity to debate and vote on future restrictions.

Conservative backbencher Sir Christopher Chope said the Government was guilty of "covert mission creep" over its expansion of coronavirus regulations using secondary legislation.

He said: "I'm not yet persuaded that I need to support the continuation of the Coronavirus Act. And why am I not persuaded of that? Because the Government is guilty of covert mission creep.

Read more Covid cases rise by 4k as North East faces stricter lockdown- LIVE

"When we were told six months ago that it was necessary to rush legislation through it was on the basis that we wanted to prevent our NHS being overwhelmed with people dying from Covid in hospital corridors and not being able to access the care that they needed.

"Fortunately, as a result of the emergency measures that were taken, that scenario never arose, people were taken to hospital and they received the very best treatment in a hospital and continue so to do.

"So the original objective of this legislation has been achieved but as so often happens with regulation brought in by governments, they want to keep the regulations. They say 'oh well we need to keep them just in case'."

Former minister Sir Desmond Swayne claimed it was a "sacking offence" for the Government's chief scientific and medical advisers to deliver a presentation to warn how 200 or more people in the UK could die each day by mid-November if the current rate of infection was not halted.

Speaking in the Commons, Sir Desmond earlier said: "The purpose of politicians is to impose a measure of proportion, a sense of proportion on science, and not to be enthralled to it.

"Now I will make myself very unpopular, but I believe that the appearance of the chiefs (chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance) last week should have been a sacking offence.

"When they presented that graph, with the caveat that it wasn't a prediction, but nevertheless it was clear that they presented it as a plausible scenario, with its 50,000 cases per day by mid-October based on the doubling of infections by the week.

"Not once, not on one day since March have there been infections on that day that were double that of the day of the week proceeding. Not once. Where did this doubling come from? What was their purpose in presenting such a graph?

"It was the purpose of the Fat Boy in Pickwick Papers, 'I wants to make yer flesh creep'. It was project fear, it was an attempt to terrify the British people, as if they haven't been terrified enough."

Sir Desmond said he believed the Government's policy has been "disproportionate", adding: "By decree, it has interfered in our private lives, and our family lives, telling us who we may meet, when we may meet them and what we must wear when we meet them.

"We have the cruelty, the cruelty, of elderly people in care homes, disorientated, being unable to see the faces of their loved ones and to receive a hug."

Coronavirus hits the UK - In pictures 50 show all Coronavirus hits the UK - In pictures 1/50 Electronic bilboards displays a message warning people to stay home in Sheffield PA 2/50 An image of The Queen eith quotes from her broadcast to the UK and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus epidemic are displayed on lights in London's Piccadilly Circus PA 3/50 Boris Johnson addresses the nation on the Coronavirus lockdown Andrew Parsons 4/50 Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas' hospital Getty Images 5/50 Durdle Door in Dorset Reuters 6/50 Captain Tom Moore via Reuters 7/50 Mia, aged 8, and Jack, aged 5, take part in "PE with Joe" a daily live workout with Joe Wicks on Youtube to help kids stay fit who have to stay indoors due to the Coronavirus outbreak PA 8/50 An NHS worker reacts at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS Reuters 9/50 Goats which have taken over the deserted streets of Llandudno @AndrewStuart via PA 10/50 Tobias Weller PA 11/50 Novikov restaurant in London with its shutters pulled down while the restaurant is closed 12/50 London Landscapes: Hyde Park and the Serpentine, central London. Matt Writtle 13/50 A newspaper vendor in Manchester city centre giving away free toilet rolls with every paper bought as shops run low on supplies due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus PA 14/50 Theo Clay looks out of his window next to his hand-drawn picture of a rainbow in Liverpool, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue Reuters 15/50 A young man cuts another man's hair on top of a closed hairdresser in Oxford Reuters 16/50 General view of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital, built to fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London via Reuters 17/50 Jason Baird is seen dressed as Spiderman during his daily exercise to cheer up local children in Stockport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues Reuters 18/50 A woman wearing a face mask walks past Buckingham Palace Getty Images 19/50 A man holds mobile phone displaying a text message alert sent by the government warning that new rules are in force across the UK and people must stay at home PA 20/50 Medical staff on the Covid-19 ward at the Neath Port Talbot Hospital, in Wales, as the health services continue their response to the coronavirus outbreak. PA 21/50 Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking part in a virtual Cabinet meeting with his top team of ministers PA 22/50 A shopper walks past empty shelves in a Lidl store on in Wallington. After spates of "panic buying" cleared supermarket shelves of items like toilet paper and cleaning products, stores across the UK have introduced limits on purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have also created special time slots for the elderly and other shoppers vulnerable to the new coronavirus. Getty Images 23/50 People on a busy tube train in London at rush hour PA 24/50 Mia, aged 8 and her brother Jack, aged 5 from Essex, continue their school work at home, after being sent home due to the coronavirus PA 25/50 Children are painting 'Chase the rainbows' artwork and springing up in windows across the country Reuters 26/50 Social distancing in Primrose Hill Jeremy Selwyn 27/50 Westminster Bridge is deserted PA 28/50 A general view of a locked gate at Anfield, Liverpool as The Premier League has been suspended PA 29/50 An empty escalator at Charing Coss London Underground tube station Jeremy Selwyn 30/50 Homeless people in London AFP via Getty Images 31/50 A piece of art by the artist, known as the Rebel Bear has appeared on a wall on Bank Street in Glasgow. The new addition to Glasgow's street art is capturing the global Coronavirus crisis. The piece features a woman and a man pulling back to give each other a kiss PA 32/50 The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace, London, for Windsor Castle to socially distance herself amid the coronavirus pandemic PA 33/50 A general view on Grey street, Newcastle as coronavirus cases grow around the world Reuters 34/50 Matt Raw, a British national who returned from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, leaves quaratine at Arrowe Park Hospital on Merseyside PA 35/50 Britain's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty (L) and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance look on as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news conference inside 10 Downing Street Reuters 36/50 The ticket-validation terminals at the tram stop on Edinburgh's Princes Street are cleaned following the coronavirus outbreak. PA 37/50 Locked school gates at Rockcliffe First School in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear PA 38/50 A sign at a Sainsbury's supermarket informs customers that limits have been set on a small number of products as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases grow around the world Reuters 39/50 Jawad Javed delivers coronavirus protection kits that he and his wife have put together to the vulnerable people of their community of Stenhousemuir, between Glasgow and Edinburgh AFP via Getty Images 40/50 A sign advertising a book titled "How Will We Survive On Earth?" Getty Images 41/50 A man who appears to be homeless sleeping wearing a mask today in Victoria Jeremy Selwyn 42/50 A pedestrian walks past graffiti that reads "Diseases are in the City" in Edinburgh AFP via Getty Images 43/50 Staff from The Lyric Theatre, London inform patrons, as it shuts its doors PA 44/50 A quiet looking George IV Bridge in Edinburgh PA 45/50 A quieter than usual British Museum Getty Images 46/50 A racegoer attends Cheltenham in a fashionable face mask SplashNews.com 47/50 A commuter wears a face mask at London Bridge Station Jeremy Selwyn 48/50 A empty restaurant in the Bull…
April Roach
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