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Coronavirus laws a ‘secondary consideration’, says Sumption

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Former Supreme Court justice says people should decide for themselves whether or not to obey the law

People should decide for themselves whether or not to obey coronavirus laws, according to a former Supreme Court justice.

In an interview this morning, Lord Sumption said that the law was a “secondary consideration” and that people should make their own decisions about the risk of being exposed to coronavirus.

Sumption, a well-known lockdown sceptic, argued on the BBC’s Today programme that the latest set of coronavirus regulations — published overnight to give legal force to the “rule of six” — were “pointless, arbitrary and unnecessary”.

The former judge thinks that older people should be allowed to take their chances with the virus if they prefer that to cutting off contact with their family and friends.

At the end of his interview, he was asked “would you encourage people, if they feel strongly, as you do, to flout these laws?”.

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Sumption’s response:

“I would say that people should make their own decisions in the light of their own health and that the law should be a secondary consideration for them”.

The ex-Supreme practises what he preaches, having previously admitted to breaking coronavirus laws during the initial lockdown. In July, he told interviewer Joshua Rozenberg: “I don’t accept that there is a moral obligation to comply with the law. I myself certainly complied with the regulations until I came to the conclusion that they had gone on longer than even the government’s own justification and support — when, frankly, I just stopped”.

The “rule of six” regulations, which were published last night just minutes before coming into force, among other things make it a criminal offence for people to “mingle” at large gatherings.

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