Government agrees to Bradford MP Naz Shah's changes to coronavirus emergency powers

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The Government has agreed to make changes to emergency coronavirus legislation after protests by Bradford West MP Naz Shah.

Labour’s Ms Shah submitted an amendment, backed by 100 MPs, to the Coronavirus Bill to be brought to the House of Commons today, to exempt those from faith backgrounds from automatically being cremated if they die after contracting coronavirus.

There were anxieties, especially among Jews and Muslims whose faiths forbid cremation, that local authorities, in the event the number of deaths increase dramatically, would be able to use the emergency powers to disregard legal safeguards that currently prevent the cremation of human remains against the wishes of the deceased.

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The amendment sought to guarantee that if the number of dead became unmanageable, next of kin and faith organisations would be consulted before someone was cremated.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah. Photo: JPI MediaBradford West MP Naz Shah. Photo: JPI Media
Bradford West MP Naz Shah. Photo: JPI Media | jpimediaresell

But Ms Shah said this afternoon that the Government had agreed to amend its own bill to reflect concern.

She said: “I'm so relieved that the Government have listened to what we've said about religious burials for Muslim and Jewish people and have brought forward an amendment to address our concerns.

“I don't need to push my amendment to a vote. Thank you so much to everyone for your support.”

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