Statement on Coronavirus ‘Lockdown’

The Libertarian Party acknowledges the need for appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus so that the most vulnerable are protected and medical responders can deal with all serious cases as they arise.

The Libertarian Party is, however, deeply concerned about severe measures being imposed before proper scrutiny and left in place longer than is needed.

Senior Libertarian Party figures do not take the virus lightly as they express these concerns. Both the Party Leader and Party Chairman are currently complying with self-isolation guidelines in their homes, in response to themselves or householders displaying symptoms consistent with the virus.

Party Leader, Adam Brown, said:

“As much as I agree that the virus must be stopped, I am massively concerned that we are seeing a degree of government overreach that I have never known in my lifetime. Most worryingly of all they seek additional powers, not only without a plan it seems, but against the scientific advice they set out to us all just over a week ago. At that time, we were told there would not be a lock down because that would lead to more deaths in the long run. Since then the idea of letting science guide what we should be doing seems to have gone out of the window and has been replaced by a strategy of following whichever ‘Twitter mob’ shouts the loudest.

“Emergency legislation created on the hoof and without a plan is most concerning. The government has a track record, going back hundreds of years of, implementing legislation at a time of panic that is never repealed. For this reason, the Libertarian Party is adding its voice to the many other civil liberties groups in demanding that any emergency legislation is enacted with a hard stop date that is proportional to the crisis we are fighting now.”

It is expected that emergency powers will be granted for a two-year period. The Libertarian Party is utterly opposed to this recklessly long lifespan. While pressure from inside and outside the commons has brought in a review of the legislation at six months, the sunset of the bill remains two years at present. The Libertarian Party would call for it to be a maximum of three months, requiring renewal if needed.

Libertarian Party Chairman, Dan Liddicott, said:

“Two years is far too long. Short lifespans on emergency powers are fundamental to the relationship between government and the people to whom it is accountable. It is a vital reminder that power is granted by the people to the government, not the other way around.

“The expectation of a two-year lifespan on emergency powers displays a worrying disregard for the liberty we hold dear in this land. It should never have been asked for. Short lifespans can be renewed if need requires. That it will only be reviewed at six months is unacceptable. I urge those in the position to do so, to firmly resist this dystopian measure and demand a three-month limit, forcing renewal only if the powers are still absolutely required.

“Our task – our duty – while the state expands its emergency powers, is to ensure they are not expanded further than they ought, are not exercised in ways outside their intended scope, and not in force for a moment longer than needed. Freedom should be defended and upheld, it can be lost to neglect as well as to direct attack. We can’t assume emergency powers will always be laid down after a crisis, our own history shows that to be the case.

“We absolutely want to overcome the pandemic, but we also cannot permit the permanent or longer term loss of precious liberties afterwards.”

The Libertarian Party is forthright in saying that, against the backdrop of news focused on the coronavirus, the importance of civil liberties must not be lost.

Wessex Region Coordinator for the Libertarian Party, Andrew Withers, said:

“In his announcement of new measures Boris Johnson made no reference to any Legal Powers he was invoking. Citing ‘the rules’ is not good enough. There are grave concerns over the efficacy of the government’s ‘lockdown’ strategy which was rejected initially and risks being security theatre followed by second and third wave infections.”

London and South East Regional Coordinator for the Libertarian Party, Sean Finch, said:

“It’s now, more-so than ever, the duty of myself and the Libertarian Party to remind people of our ancient civil liberties which are integral to our identity.”

Libertarian Party Membership Secretary, Glenville Gogerly, said:

“Whilst preservation of life is paramount, these emergency powers have been invoked without any legal references. I and my colleagues in the Libertarian Party will be, throughout this period and beyond, the watchers and the champions of liberty and freedom. We will make sure that these measures are lifted in a timely and swift manner and are not kept within law or tacked onto new legislation when the virus dissipates.”

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