This looks is probably the last chance to limit the astonishing Emergency Powers which the Government is planning to grant itself, before the legislation gets rubberstamped by the House of Commons, which seemingly continues to fail to protect our fundamental liberties and freedoms.
We are not convinced that the Government will actually accept the amendments which try to ring fence certain Acts of Parliament and constitutional documents e.g. Magna Carta or the Human Rights Act or, most importantly, the Civil Contingencies Act itself from being amended by Ministers, by regulation or order, without the need for full debate in Parliamnet, but with the full force of Primary Legislation and the Royal Prerogative.
The Government rejected a similar reccommendation in the Report by the Joint Committee of both Houses on the Draft Civil Contingencies Bill and claimed that since "Ministers are deemed to always act reasonably" the highly complicated and obscure "triple lock" mechanism, which again, they refused to clarify by writing it into a single clause , would somehow protect the public from the potential abuse of the extraordinary "Henry VIII" powers which might be invoked by a future dictatorship.
Do you trust the current Government with so much power ? How about a future Government which could declare Emergency Powers on the basis of the "opinion" of a Minister who has been briefed with a "dodgy intelligence dossier" ?
None of the tabled amendments seek to resolve the questions of criminal sanctions against petty officials or bureaucrats who exceed their Emergency Powers, the need for Digital Signatures to authenticate Orders and Regulations rapidly in an emergency (would you seriously start the evacuation of a City, simply on the basis of an email or phone call or a fax, which can be so easily forged ?), the lack of anti-hoax provisions, the need for audit trails for future manadatory Public Inquiries, etc. which we raised as concerns about the original Draft Civil Contingencies Bill, and which still remain at the Report Stage of the full Bill.