The Liberal Democrats have today confirmed they intend to vote against the Coronavirus Act because of the Prime Minister's failure to reverse the reductions in rights to care for vulnerable people, particularly the disabled.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey warned he had "deep reservations about the serious implications for people’s wellbeing, rights and freedoms" and made clear the provision of care was a "red line."
The MP, himself a carer for his disabled son and a patron of the Disability Law Service, wrote to the Prime Minister ahead of the vote to stress the legal advice shows that the measures in the Act are a breach of the UK's obligations under international law.
The Liberal Democrats, who supported emergency measures before the UK went into lockdown, have also pointed to 141 people wrongly prosecuted under the Act and the reduction in safeguards for detention under the Mental Health Act as reasons to withhold their support.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
"To save lives through this pandemic, the Liberal Democrats have supported and continue to support all necessary measures to keep people safe – including the lockdowns and face-covering requirements.
"However, I have deep reservations about the serious implications for people’s wellbeing, rights and freedoms. Most alarming to me is the watering down of care for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. That is a red line issue.
"Just imagine what that has meant for those children and their families. On top of all the other hardships of lockdown, having the lifeline of caring support cut off completely.
"I have appealed to the Prime Minister to listen and heed the legal advice, but he has refused. Liberal Democrat MPs are therefore unable to vote for an Act that fails to care for the most vulnerable, sees people wrongfully charged and gives Ministers a blank cheque."