‘Superb… authoritative, thoughtful and terrifying in equal measure’, The Secret Barrister
‘Astonishing. Detailed, dispassionate and definitive. An urgent warning and work of major importance’, James O’Brien
0n 26 March 2020, a new law appeared. In eleven 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.
You may have expected such a law to be fiercely debated in Parliament. But it wasn’t debated at all. A state of emergency was declared, meaning the law came into force the moment it was signed. The emergency was supposed to be short but lasted for 763 days, allowing ministers to bring in, by decree over 100 new laws restricting freedoms more than any in history – laws that were almost never debated, changed at a whim and increasingly confused the public. Meanwhile, behind the doors of Downing Street, officials and even the Prime Minister broke the very laws they had created.
This book tells the startling story of the state of emergency that brought about an Emergency State. A wake-up call from one of the UK’s leading human rights barristers, Emergency State shows us why we must never take our rights for granted.
‘A riveting account of how our democracy was put under threat during the Pandemic and why we must never let the Emergency State – all-powerful but ignorant and corrupt – take over again’, Lady Hale, former President of the UK Supreme Court
‘Clear-eyed, forensic and compelling, Wagner sets out what happened during the Covid-19 pandemic – and the lessons we need to learn’, Jonathan Freedland, author of The Escape Artist
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