Conservative MP Steve Baker has said he is “not willing to live” under new coronavirus measures announced by Boris Johnson on Wednesday, which include the introduction of ‘Covid-secure marshals’.
The former minister and ardent Brexiteer also suggested that Covid laws should be abandoned in favour of a “voluntary system”, with the current rules and proposals presenting an unfit “legal environment for the British people”.
The introduction of the marshals was announced alongside confirmation of the “rule of six”, which comes into force from Monday, September 14, and a radical new mass testing plan dubbed Operation Moonshot by the PM – for which even the technology does not yet exist.
Criticising the new restrictions – which could remain in force until at least the spring of 2021 – Baker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it is now time to say that this is not a fit legal environment for the British people.
“It’s time to move to a voluntary system – unless the government can demonstrate otherwise.
“And it is time for us to actually start living like a free people, not subjecting ourselves to constantly shifting legal requirements, which I think now no one can fully understand.”
Baker’s apparent advocacy of shifting away from the rule of law around Covid restrictions comes days after a cabinet minister admitted the government’s plans to change their own Brexit deal break the law in a “very specific and limited way”.
Baker added: “It seems to me the effect of having Covid marshals will be to turn every public space in Britain into the equivalent of going through airport security where we are badgered and directed… I’m not willing to live like this.”
It’s far from the first time Baker has spoken out against the government. He was among the group of Tory MPs who called for the resignation of Johnson’s top advisor Dominic Cummings after he travelled to Durham with his family during lockdown, and resigned from his role as Brexit minister in July 2018.
In October 2018 Baker submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May’s leadership amid arguments over her proposals for the Withdrawal Agreement.
He has previously spoken out about the “increasingly disproportionate” Covid regulations being introduced by government, describing the new restrictions as “authoritarian” in a tweet on Wednesday.
Measures signed into law by @MattHancock look increasingly disproportionate 👇— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) September 9, 2020
I'm finding usually sensible people are alarmed by the Government's authoritarian reaction to #COVID19 - and no wonder
Ministers must have regard to the rights of a free people, whatever the advice https://t.co/UU810g5ITq
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.