SNP should prepare to hand back emergency Covid powers

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today called on the Scottish Government to hand back unprecedented emergency powers granted to it during the Covid-19 pandemic, as a consultation into making powers permanent closes (Tuesday 9th November).

The 12-week consultation has invited commentary on whether a whole host of powers from closing schools to the early release of prisoners en masse should be retained by the government.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

"When the pandemic hit, our country took a deep breath and granted deep and wide-ranging powers to the government to get us through.

"Many powers were never meant to be forever and it would be an affront to democracy for the SNP to try to keep them on a permanent basis.

“The pandemic required new ways of working for all of us, some of which were overdue and for the better. If there are sensible reforms to be made, then these should go through the proper legislative process.

"What this must not be is a colossal SNP power grab, lining their pockets with powers that they nobody would have countenanced handing over pre-pandemic. In particular, the power to order lockdowns, close every school or release prisoners early en masse stand out as measures which shouldn’t be kept on the books. If they are ever needed again then the Parliament of the day should give them the green light.

"Parliament will need to be on its guard because ministers have repeatedly failed to respect the need for proper scrutiny and public accountability, regularly sneaking decisions through with little to no notice."

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