Police will come to your house if you fail to self-isolate
Ministers insist the Prime Minister is determined to press ahead with the crackdown to curb a second coronavirus wave despite complaints by Tories that the measures are “draconian”. They said he will face down a revolt by backbenchers who want Parliament to “take back control” of Covid restrictions from the Government. The new quarantine rules coming into force have fines ranging from £1,000 for a first breach of self-isolation to up to £10,000 for serial offenders.
Police are to begin calling on homes with high infection rates to ensure people ordered into self-isolation are obeying the law.
They will act on tip-offs including people reporting on their neighbours who are failing to self-isolate when required.
Whitehall officials say police will also be deployed to check compliance with the quarantine orders among high-risk groups based on local intelligence.
Officers will investigate and prosecute “high-profile cases of non-compliance”, according to Government sources.
As the new restrictions come into force, the Tory revolt against Mr Johnson ruling by emergency is growing.
By last night, 42 Tory MPs had backed an amendment to the renewal of coronavirus regulations tabled by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of the party’s backbenchers, designed to give MPs a vote before new rules are imposed.
Sir Graham was expecting more MPs to sign his amendment today.
Steve Baker, one of the leading rebels and a former minister, said he was “certain” the Government will be defeated if a vote goes ahead on the issue on Wednesday.
He said: “You hear people think that liberty dies – it dies like this with the Government exercising draconian powers without parliamentary scrutiny in advance, undermining the rule of law by having a shifting blanket of rules that no one can understand.
“It’s all about MPs having a vote on the Government’s policy before it comes into force and takes away people’s civil liberties.
“MPs have been feeling helpless as their constituents complain about a real impact on their lives, their jobs, their prosperity, their health, which comes from the side effects of Covid measures.
“We are not proposing to take the power from ministers to decide what’s done or take away the power of business of the House of Commons.
“We’re just saying that the Government should use the procedure that puts a statutory instrument before the House for a debate and a decision.
“In a sense I’m saying MPs should be sharing in the dreadful burden of decision in these circumstances and not just retrospectively being asked to approve what the Government’s done.”
Mr Baker said that he felt there were enough rebels to defeat the amendment with the backing of the Opposition.
He added: “I’m certain at the moment but, as I say, really we’d prefer to avoid this coming to a division.
“I’m afraid it’s in the nature of the way Parliament works that things happen like this. But I back Boris Johnson. I want him to succeed, but we do need to share with the Government the burden of decision on these measures and not just come in days or weeks later, perhaps voting on measures which have subsequently been amended.”
In a newspaper article yesterday, Mr Baker insisted: “Parliament must take back control.”
Backbench MP Craig Tracey joined members of his party in signing Sir Graham’s amendment yesterday.
He said: “I fully appreciate why the Government needed temporary powers to take decisive action in the early days of the virus, but now it is time we have the opportunity to scrutinise future measures before they come into effect.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday insisted the Government needed to act swiftly and said the rebel claims were “slightly overblown”.
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He said: “I think it’s important in a crisis like this, when things are moving very rapidly, that the Government has the power to move quickly. And that is the power that the Government was given through the initial legislation earlier this year. But then it is important that MPs hold us to account and vote on that, and that is exactly what is happening here.”
Labour and the Lib Dems both signalled they could vote with Tory rebels on Sir Graham’s amendment.
Some MPs are speculating Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle may decline to allow a vote on the amendment.
Under the new rules coming into force today, anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will be required by law to self-isolate for the period ending 10 days after displaying symptoms or after the date of their test.
Other members of their household must self-isolate for a period of 14 days after the start of symptom, or after the date of the initial positive test.
If someone is instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, they are legally required to self-isolate for the period notified.
Both household and non-household contacts must self-isolate for the full period, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “These new measures are about saving lives. Everyone must take personal responsibility and self-isolate if they test positive or if told to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
“For those who fail to do so, the police will enforce the law.”
Official figures yesterday revealed a further 5,693 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, taking the overall number of cases confirmed to 434,969.
A further 17 people died, bringing the UK total to 41,988.