Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael MP has called out the Government for “an abuse of the law-making process” after ministers indicated that they would not seek parliamentary approval to establish a ten-year prison sentence for people avoiding new quarantine rules. The attempt to avoid parliamentary scrutiny was described as “dystopian” by a former Attorney General today.
Mr Carmichael said:
‘This was clearly an attempt to grab headlines and look “tough” with a ten-year sentence and it has gone badly wrong. If the crime of evading quarantine warrants a harsher sentence than assault or burglary then it warrants a debate and a vote in Parliament. Anything less is an abuse of the law-making process.’
On reports that the Government plans to justify the ten-year prison sentence for offenders under a 40-year-old counterfeiting law, Mr Carmichael added:
‘If making a mess of a form counts as “forgery” then half the country could be convicted as criminal masterminds. You cannot twist old laws to fit unprecedented situations. This disrespect for the rule of law is utterly illiberal and cannot be accepted.”