British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reprimanded on Wednesday by the speaker of parliament for treating lawmakers with contempt by rushing through far-reaching COVID-19 restrictions without proper scrutiny.
In a rare intervention by the chief officer of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle scolded Johnson ahead of his weekly question-and-answer session for making rules in a “totally unsatisfactory” way.
Johnson, who is due to hold a news conference with the government’s chief scientists at 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), is grappling with a swiftly spreading second wave of the coronavirus outbreak and growing anger over restrictions imposed on citizens.
“The way in which the government has exercised its powers to make secondary legislation during this crisis has been totally unsatisfactory,” Hoyle told parliament.
Hoyle, who as speaker runs debates and is the highest authority of the House of Commons, added that he hoped the government would no longer “treat it with the contempt that it has shown”.
Britain, which has the worst official death count in Europe, reported 7,143 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest single figure to date.
Swathes of the United Kingdom and millions of citizens are subject to local restrictions brought in to try to slow the second wave of COVID-19 infections. Britain has reported more than 42,072 deaths from the virus – the world’s fifth highest total.