World Commons Speaker quashes Tory rebels' bid - but warns government over COVID rules
Thousands fined for breaking 'unclear' lockdown rules, MPs warn
Britons are being fined for breaches of coronavirus lockdown regulations that are "unclear and ambiguous", a parliamentary committee has warned. The Joint Committee on Human Rights said it was "unacceptable" that "many thousands" were receiving fixed penalty notices (FPNs) despite evidence the police did not fully understand their powers.It added that the way regulations were being enforced by the police was having a "disproportionate impact" on young men from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
An effort by Conservative rebels to force the government to give MPs a greater say over COVID-19 restrictions has been quashed by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle told MPs he would not allow any attempts to alter emergencylegislation, introduced at the start of the pandemic in March, when the Commons is asked to renew its approval for it later on Wednesday.
Victoria records just 12 new COVID-19 cases in major step forward
Victoria has recorded just 12 new COVID-19 cases and one more death in the past 24 hours, in another major step forward for the state. The Department of Health and Human Services announced one of the lowest death tolls in months on Saturday.Metropolitan Melbourne is currently in the First Step to reopening the state - but could move to the second step soon.The Second Step is when the daily average case rate drops between 30 to 50 cases over a 14-day period.The DHHS announced this wouldn't happen before September 28.
This dealt a blow to attempts by a sizeable group of Tory MPs to ensure the Commons can debate and vote on newmeasures before they come into force.
However, it is understood a deal has since been reached between the Tory rebels and the government, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to set out the details later.
A senior government source said: "There was a constructive meeting today. Everyone understands the need to balance proper parliamentary scrutiny with the government's ability to act at speed when necessary."
In his statement to MPs, Sir Lindsay said he had "decided not to select any of the amendments" to Wednesday's motion on the renewal of powers in the Coronavirus Act.
Victoria's COVID-19 crisis by the numbers
Victoria has reported 12 more cases of COVID-19 and one death, which takes the state toll to 782.VICTORIA'S COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR SEPTEMBER 25
He revealed he had received advice that "any amendment to the motion before the House risks giving rise to uncertainty about the decision the House has taken".
"This then risks decisions which are rightly the responsibility of parliament ultimately being determined by the courts," Sir Lindsay added.
"Lack of clarity in such important matters risks undermining the rule of law."
However, the Speaker appeared to urge the government to reach a compromise with the large number of MPs who want a greater say over COVID-19 restrictions.
He told ministers that the way in which they had exercised their powers in introducing coronavirus measures was "totally unsatisfactory", as he criticised them for publishing laws only "a matter of hours before they come into force".
COVID-19 takes a toll on public transport, speed camera revenue in Qld
The lockdown in March dragged annual revenue down as people stayed home and avoided public transport.Queensland's public transport network recorded a drop in patronage of almost 20 per cent over the past year, costing more than $71 million in fare revenue.
"Some explanations why important measures have come into effect before they can be laid before this House have been unconvincing and shows a total disregard for the House," Sir Lindsay said.
"The government must make greater efforts to prepare measures more quickly, so that this House can debate and decide upon the most significant measures at the earliest possible point."
The Speaker urged the government to "remedy a situation I regard as completely unsatisfactory," adding: "I now look to the government to rebuild trust with this House and not treat it with the contempt that it has shown."
Greggs warns of tough times for 'foreseeable future' as it plans cuts
Greggs has warned that trading will remain "below normal for the foreseeable future" as it plans cost-cutting measures that could see jobs go. The high street bakery chain said sales were recovering but were still almost 25% below last year's levels in recent weeks, following an even tougher August.It confirmed that it had launched a consultation with employee and union representatives, first revealed earlier this month, but would seek "minimise the risk of job losses" by instead reducing hours in shops. Coventry, UK - November 3, 2018: Greggs is the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom.
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, had tabled the amendment - which will now not be selected - through which a cross-party group of MPs were hoping to achieve a greater say over coronavirus restrictions.
He said: "The Speaker set out his reasons for not selecting any amendments but he also made it clear that he expects the government to ensure proper and timely parliamentary scrutiny.
"I am hopeful that the government will respond appropriately this afternoon."
His fellow rebel ringleader, former Brexit minister Steve Baker, said: "Mr Speaker's decision is entirely reasonable and his statement will reassure all MPs supporting Sir Graham.
"I hope and expect to reach a good compromise with the government shortly so we can advance as one team."
Sir Lindsay's statement came ahead of Wednesday's session of Prime Minister's Questions, during which Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took aim at Boris Johnson's.
The prime minister was forced to apologise on Tuesday for getting confused by COVID-19 restrictions in northeast England.
"One of the major problems, as we've seen in the last 24 hours, is widespread confusion about the local restrictions and I don't just mean the prime minister not knowing his own rules - having sat opposite the prime minister at PMQs every week that didn't come as a surprise to me," Sir Keir said.
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MPs overwhelmingly approve renewal of emergency COVID powers
MPs have approved the renewal of the government's emergency coronavirus powers after ministers staged a climbdown to offer the House of Commons a greater say on new nationwide restrictions. Powers under the Coronavirus Act, which was passed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, have to be renewed by parliament every six months.MPs approved the motion by 330 votes to 24 - a 306 majority - after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons that the measures were "still needed to keep people safe".
Quoting concerns from a Conservative council leader about the "complex" restrictions, Sir Keir added: "If the prime minister doesn't understand the rules and his own council leaders are complaining about mixed messages, how does the prime minister expect the rest of the country to understand and follow the rules?"
Mr Johnson replied: "Actually, I think that the people of this country do understand and overwhelmingly do follow the rules, and that I may say is in spite of the efforts of (the Labour leader) continually to try to snipe from the sidelines, to undermine what we are trying to do, and he mentions the restrictions in the North East, and I cleared that matter up as fast as I could."
Sir Keir also asked the prime minister why only one area of England - Luton in Bedfordshire - had ever come out and stayed out of local lockdown restrictions.
"The reason, I think, for the success of Luton is that the local people pulled together to suppress the virus, to follow the guidance, and that is the way forward for the entire country," Mr Johnson responded.
"That is what we did before in March and April, and I have no doubt that that is what we're going to do again."
Video: "Boris Johnson's address to the nation on new coronavirus restrictions in full" (The Independent)
Tory Lanez charged over alleged Megan Thee Stallion shooting .
Tory Lanez has been charged with allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the feet during an incident on July 12.The 28-year-old rapper was accused by Megan of shooting her in the foot during an incident on July 12, in which the pair got into an argument whilst riding in an SUV in the Hollywood Hills.