Health Secretary Matt Hancock is to appear in High Court today after legal action brought by Manchester’s night time economy advisor Sacha Lord picks up pace.
Lord is calling for Hancock to explain why he is allowing non-essential shops to open before pubs and restaurants this month, and despite repeated calls for specific evidence to back up the delayed return for the hospitality sector, the government has failed to provide any data.
On April 3, Sacha Lord tweeted that ‘within hours’ of receiving the evidence collated by Lord and his legal team, Judge Swift ‘decided our case was urgent’.
As a result, Hancock has to file a response by 10am today, with no concessions for the Bank Holiday Easter break.
Last month, Lord and his team gave the government a deadline to provide evidence as to why the sector isn’t being allowed to open on April 12 alongside non-essential stores, asking for specific advice from scientists ‘whether it is justifiable to prevent the hospitality industry opening whilst, at the same time, allowing non-essential shops to open’.
They argued that ‘transmission is plainly higher in non-essential shops,’ and said they would pursue legal action if the government did not provide data to the contrary.
The government missed this deadline and will now have to face the High Court.
Lord was joined in his challenge by Hugh Osmond, founder of Punch Taverns and former director of Pizza Express.