Coronavirus poll: Do you think Boris Johnson’s lockdown breaks the law? VOTE HERE

A WEALTHY businessman has thrown down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson by launching a legal challenge to the imposition of the UK-wide coronavirus lockdown – so today’s poll asks readers whether the PM’s restrictions break the law? The ongoing lockdown, which has been in force since March 23, are undoubtedly damaging the UK’s economy, with an analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility last month projecting a drop of 35 percent on GDP in the coming months. However, there is little doubt the strict measures put into the place by the Government have slowed the spread of the disease and taken the pressure of the NHS.

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Furthermore, with no vaccine in the offing, lifting the lockdown could result in cases spiking back up again.

Simon Dolan, whose Jota Aviation company is involved in the fight against COVID-19, delivering vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to the NHS, nevertheless believes steps taken are too draconian.

Mr Dolan is seeking a judicial review, accusing the Government of “paralysing the country” and causing “long term damage”.

He wants Mr Johnson to allow gatherings of up to 100 people, reopen schools and reviewing the lockdown restrictions every two weeks.

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Mr Dolan’s lawyers have sent a ‘Letter Before Action’ to Health Secretary Matt Hancock which gives him until Thursday May 7 to respond.

The challenge is based on three main points.

Firstly, whether the lockdown is unlawful because the Government implemented regulations under the Public Health Act 1984 instead of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 or the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Secondly over the legality of the continuation of lockdown regulation, and whether the tests are too narrow – failing to take account of the economic and social impacts of lockdown.

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The final aspect is based on whether the restrictions contravene the European Convention of Human Rights, which cover the right to liberty, family life, education and property.

As part of the application, Mr Dolan is also asking for the minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) meetings this year.

The letter reads: “Failure to do so [release the minutes] will result in an application for disclosure if proceedings have to be issued.”

If the Government fails to respond to the letter, Mr Dolan’s lawyers, Michael Gardner of law firm Wedlake Bell LLP and barrister Francis Hoar of Field Court Chambers, plan to apply for an urgent court hearing.

Mr Dolan, who owns ten UK businesses, said: “Every day that the lockdown continues it is paralysing the country, wrecking the economy and causing long term damage.

“Boris Johnson has hinted at an exit strategy after declaring we are past the peak.

“But he has offered no timeframe and given himself a get out with the five tests.

“He seems determined to maintain the lockdown which was brought in on March 23.

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“There is still no clarity on how he will get things moving again.

“He has an opportunity now to put things right by allowing gatherings of up to one hundred people, re-opening schools and reviewing the measures every two weeks.

“Every life lost is a tragedy. But we have seen other nations deal with the pandemic effectively without such draconian measures.

“Sweden chose to trust its citizens with sustainable tactics – and Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong were also less draconian.”

Sweden’s death rate is nevertheless ten times that of neighbouring Norway, where tougher measures were imposed.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Johnson said the country was now past the peak.

He added: “We will outline a comprehensive plan next week on how we can get our economy moving, children back to school or child care, how we can travel to work and how we can make life in the workplace safer and how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time restart the economy.”

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