A Petition calling for a Referendum in the United Kingdom to abolish the Coronavirus Act has reached over 100,000 signatures, so a parliamentary debate can now be requested.
At some stage soon the House of Commons Petitions Committee will consider this.
Campaigners are calling on that Committee and its Chair, Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, the chair of the petitions, to facilitate a debate on a such a referendum. Such calls will be made locally as well, led by Newcastle petitions campaigner, Chris Packham
Chris Packham said:
“A public vote is needed so that all the issues surrounding the coronavirus can be debated openly. It is better for these issues to be discussed through the democratic process of a referendum, than have many members of the public feeling that their opinions do not matter, with some resorting to street marches, or other forms of protest”.
Anthony Webber, the Petition organiser said:
“This issue is clearly not a party political one, but one which crosses the party political boundaries.
It is also the most important political issue which the nation has faced for a very long time.
Yet the UK Coronavirus Act and the many government and Parliamentary decisions which came about following that Act, have never been consented to by the UK electorate.
This is staggering because of all the consequences of those decisions in all areas of life. It has also involved the expenditure of billions of taxpayer’s money on projects which also have had no consent from the electorate.
Before bringing in the UK Coronavirus Act, or at the very least before it was extended longer than three weeks, this really should have been put to the whole of the UK by a Referendum so that the electorate could make this very important and fundamental decision.
This whole matter is very much to do with constitutional matters, as it involves the rights of the electorate to make decisions which affect their voting rights as well as their individual freedoms and liberties.
This issue has also involved situations where MPs of all parties have been whipped into voting in certain ways. It is important that MPs are freed of any party constraints. The matter of having a referendum ensures that full democracy is given to the people.
The issue certainly merits Parliamentary debate and there would be an undermining of democracy if this did not take place.
People have noticed that Switzerland have had two referenda on covid issues, one very similar to what is proposed in this Petition. In Switzerland, 100,000 signatures ensures that a referendum takes place.
In this country, a referendum on this issue would uphold the full democratic values which we have, which includes the right to referenda.
It would also enable free and open two sided debate on covid issues, something the country has been denied for the past twenty months. A healthy, free and transparent democracy is something to enhance, not to diminish. The value of honest and truthful debate is something which should be encouraged, not something to be fearful of.
The government in its initial response to the Petition made a number of assertions, which are very questionable indeed. It is a major problem with this government that they are perceived by millions in the UK to make exaggerated or false claims with no opportunity for these to be questioned or, especially, for alternative policies to be placed in the public arena. The conduct of the government on this issue has led many members of the public to believe their own opinions are of no consequence.
The most recent renewal of the UK Coronavirus Act in October 2021 for ANOTHER six months with scant debate and no recorded vote only further reduced the level of confidence the public have in their MPs. More people are losing faith even in the Parliamentary Petitions systems which makes it even more important that this Petition is given a Parliamentary debate.
There are many points mentioned in the government’s response to the Petition which merit full Parliamentary debate. Clearly having that debate will enable those who support this Petition to provide any relevant information to their MP’s, and of course lobby them if they so wish.
The government did say that the “remaining temporary provisions will sunset on March 25th, 2022” but then go on to state “decide whether any (regulations and measures) need to remain in place.”
Across the UK there have been increases in restrictive measures, and indeed the imposition of vaccine certificates (passports), mandatory vaccination of Care Home workers and now NHS staff.
It is clear that the government is abusing the use of emergency powers in a number of areas. The government clearly has the ability to continue with the UK Coronavirus Act, in its present or a varied format. To allow that to proceed without a national Referendum would be a disaster for democracy in this country. Whatever the situation, this is a legitimate call for a Referendum which deserves to be honoured.
One further point is that the government maintained in their response to the Petition that informed consent is required for those who receive the covid-19 vaccines. Evidence continues to come to light that such procedures are not being followed. How the government expects to achieve proper informed consent with the mass covid-19 vaccines and boosters campaign they have started with such short term targets, is a huge worry. It is something, alongside many other government actions, which need to be scrutinised.
The government initially flatly turned down a Referendum on this issue. It is clear that their misuse of the UK Coronavirus Act and their associated other actions mean that it is imperative they reconsider their position. Having a Parliamentary debate on this issue will ensure that the issue has to be properly defended by them, or they back down.
There are many other reasons, but these are some of the key ones, and hopefully other ones will be able to come out in the debate.
The Petition has achieved 100,000 signatures in a short space of time and thanks are due to the many organisations and individuals who brought this about. There will be an appropriate time to thank all those concerned at a later stage, as the Petition is still very much open !
It is now hoped that many, many, more people will sign the Petition, once they have heard about it !Most people still have not heard of the Petition
So it is to be hoped that some national and local media will now report on the Petition rectify this.
Joint Founder, National Alliance for Freedom from Lockdowns ( Non- party political body)
Independent Political Commentator
(1) Referendum in the United Kingdom to abolish the Coronavirus Act: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/597665
(2) Catherine McKinnell – chair of petitions committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/108802/catherine-mckinnell-mp-elected-chair-of-the-petitions-committee/