Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the Conservative government has generated emergency delegated legislation under powers delegated by Parliament in the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and many other pieces of legislation (see A-LEVEL LAW REVIEW, Vol. 16, No. 1, p. 34).
The Conservative government has been accused, particularly by its own back-benchers, of ruling by ‘decree’ or ‘diktat’, and ignoring the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. The Hansard Society reported that the government had laid 256 statutory instruments before Parliament by early October 2020, with 184 coming into effect via the negative resolution procedure. This means that many will have avoided parliamentary scrutiny, as, in the absence of any objections from MPs, they will have passed into law automatically.
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