Leading human rights barrister Adam Wagner joins Lord Finkelstein to tell the story of Britain’s State of Emergency – and issue a wake up call to protect our liberties.
On 26 March 2020, a new law appeared. In 11 pages, it locked down tens of millions of people, confined us to our homes, banned socialising, closed shops, gyms, pubs, places of worship. It restricted our freedoms more than any other law in history, justified by the rapid spread of a deadly new virus. A state of emergency was declared, lasting for 764 days, during which time ministers brought in over 100 new restrictions, almost never debated, increasingly confusing the public, and some – we would find out – stained with corruption.
Adam Wagner was described in the House of Lords as ‘the only person in the country who can make sense of [the COVID-19] regulations’. In conversation with peer and Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein, he tells the startling story of the state of emergency which became an emergency state and how extreme measures caused constitutional chaos.