Emergency Coronavirus Powers

The emergency Coronavirus Act contains the most draconian powers ever in peace-time Britain. It was rushed through Parliament in 3 days. Thanks to many hundreds of you for taking part in our #TwoYearsTooLong campaign - the Government amended the Act to include a six month review. We’ll publish a monthly Emergency Powers & Civil Liberties Report, documenting any excessive or unlawful uses of powers. We’ll send a copy to every MP, every month. Subscribe for our first report, due 27 April 2020.


Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures, but we cannot let basic rights fall casualty to crisis. The Coronavirus Act contains the most draconian powers ever in peace-time Britain, including:

Forced detention and isolation can be of anyone, including children, and for any amount of time

Authorities can forcibly take biological samples

There’s no clear access to legal rights from as-yet unidentified isolation facilities

Lockdown powers could prevent protests against measures

State surveillance safeguards weakened

Protections from forced detainment and treatment under Mental Health Act lowered


Emergency powers are needed to protect public health. However, authorities need to use them in a proportionate, lawful and strictly temporary way, to protect our democracy in the long run.

That's why we’re producing monthly reports exposing excessive uses of emergency powers with analysis and recommendations. We'll publish them here - and we'll send an Emergency Powers & Civil Liberties Report to every parliamentarian, every month.

Our first monthly report is due Monday 27th April 2020.

We’re going to keep a close eye on the creation and use of Government databases, including phone tracking.

And we’re going to engage with authorities and challenge uses of emergency powers that unlawfully curb civil liberties.

Got a tip? Let us know if the emergency powers are being used excessively or inappropriately in your area. It’s really important that, where possible, you send us evidence such as photos or videos.


The extraordinary powers in the Coronavirus Bill demand close scrutiny, some require major amendments and signicant limitation, and some — in absence of further justication or explanation — should simply be removed.

Read briefing


In a joint letter, led by civil liberties group Big Brother Watch and published in Telegraph, the group warns that the Bill contains “the most draconian powers ever proposed in peace-time Britain” and urges for a more proportionate time limit.

Read more

Thousands of you emailed your MPs about the #CoronavirusBillUK and we got a 6m review! To say thank you, we’re sending supporters who donate £10p/m our “2020 is the new 1984” t-shirts. Help us keep fighting: