The Coronavirus Bill contains the most wide-ranging emergency powers ever to be proposed in the UK in peace time. The UK Government say that the Bill will enable action in five key areas – increasing the available health and social care workforce; easing the burden on frontline staff; containing and slowing the virus; managing the deceased with respect and dignity; and supporting people to claim sick pay, and the food industry.

These are all laudable aims but digging deeper there are a number of worrying aspects – for example, the power to detain and isolate members of the public potentially indefinitely, including children; the prohibition of public gatherings without the standard protections for strikes and industrial action that exist in the Civil Contingencies Act; and the weakening of safeguards on mass surveillance powers.

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In normal times such a Bill would be subjected to months of legislative scrutiny and numerous amendments would be tabled. Instead, all stages of the bill will be dealt with in one day in the Commons on Monday and then over two days in the Lords with a view to it being passed by the end of the month.

Some argue that given the unprecedented situation the Bill should go through on the nod, but it is the responsibility of MPs to ensure the powers sought are no more extensive than is required to meet the emergency and that there is some form of independent scrutiny.

The Bill contains a "Sunset clause" providing that the legislation will expire after two years. The view that this is too far away is shared not just by civil liberties organisations but by Lord Anderson of Ipswich KBE QC, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and members of the cross-party Joint Committee on Human Rights whose duty it is to examine human rights issues in the UK.

Officials from all four governments in the UK have worked together on the Bill and the Scottish Government will be recommending that the Scottish Parliament grant the necessary Legislative Consent Motion. However, Mike Russell has said he hopes “that those at Westminster and more widely who are rightly concerned that the two-year sunset period for the Bill needs to be looked at very carefully and that safeguards should be put in place for regular reporting, review and renewal if required, will be heeded in their concerned and constructive criticism”.

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On Thursday, Boris Johnson said the tide of the crisis could be turned within three months. This does beg the question of why the powers are needed for two years.

Accordingly, along with Harriet Harman and David Davies, I have co-sponsored an amendment designed to probe why the Government thinks it needs the powers for so long. We are suggesting that the powers should expire after six months unless Parliament approves a further period not exceeding six months. We have added the proviso that if Parliament is not sitting (because of quarantine measures), the approval of MPs from the Liaison Committee will be required.

While hardly surprising, it is alarming that even in a crisis of this magnitude Westminster is unable to innovate and adapt. In the event of MPs being quarantined it should not be beyond the wit of Westminster to devise a plan for remote scrutiny and voting using digital democracy platforms. However, earlier this week a senior parliamentarian told me that there wasn’t “a cat in hell’s chance” of Parliament adopting remote methods of working to assist the process of parliamentary scrutiny of this Bill or indeed to facilitate Parliament continuing to "sit" during the height of the pandemic without increasing the spread. A rather uninspiring Q&A with the Parliamentary Commission on Thursday confirmed that the MP was correct. Accordingly our amendment is the best compromise we can find, and we hope the Government can be persuaded to take it on board.

There is no doubt that we are facing a national emergency, and, in such circumstances, Parliament should not be obstructive but nor should it surrender its powers of oversight when they are most needed

Joanna Cherry is MP for Edinburgh South West, and the SNP's Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson at Westminster.