Brexiteer MP calls coronavirus restrictions ‘absurd, dystopian and tyrannical’

PUBLISHED: 10:17 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:51 04 May 2020

Chairman of the European Research Group, Steve Baker, arriving in Downing Street (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Chairman of the European Research Group, Steve Baker, arriving in Downing Street (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

2019 Getty Images

Stalwart Brexiteer MP Steve Baker has labelled Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions “tyrannical”, claiming they could be “unlawful” and struck down in court.

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Baker, a former chair of the pro-Brexit thinktank, the European Research Group (ERG), said the laws had given rise to a “surveillance state” that had put the nation “into imprisonment”.

In an article in The Telegraph, Baker branded the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations “absurd, dystopian and tyrannical”, adding “the sooner it is ended, the better.”

The regulations - which allows police to issue fines to people not following social distancing rules - were introduced into parliament three days after police began enforcing them.

Baker claimed the measures were “ultra vires” - meaning minister had no legal authority to impose them. He said the restrictions were a “disproportionate interference with fundamental rights and freedoms.”

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He wrote: “I am horrified by the expansion of the surveillance state, with thermal imaging cameras, drones, automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) and location tracking being deployed at the drop of a hat to police the nation into imprisonment at home.”

He showed sympathy for a judicial review being bought forward that could overturn the prime minister’s laws.

Baker argued the laws were hurting the economy and jeopardising people’s lives, especially those with medical conditions which required urgent attention.

Users on Twitter disagreed. Nigel Le Gresley said Baker had “lost the plot”. He wrote: “I do believe you have lost the plot, Steve. So long as the results mean we can come out of this pandemic lockdown after about the same time in lockdown as other European countries, what is the harm? I certainly have never felt unduly constrained.”

Gerald C Bateman said the MP was “being stupid”.

One user, by the name of Bigfoot, posted: “You only have to look at how New Zealand and Australia handled the situation to see that the UK government didn’t do enough to lockdown. And you want them to lift it?”

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