Matt Hancock summoned to High Court to explain delayed hospitality reopening

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Health Secretary Matt Hancock summoned to High Court to explain delayed hospitality reopening Sacha Lord Hugh Osmond legal challenge

Related tags Sacha Lord Hugh osmond High court Legal challenge Judicial review Coronavirus lockdown

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has until 10am this morning (Tuesday 6 April) to respond to a High Court legal challenge against the decision not to allow hospitality to reopen for indoor service until five weeks after non-essential retail.

The challenge, which was launched by the Greater Manchester night time economy advisor Sacha Lord last month​ and is backed by hospitality entrepreneur Hugh Osmond, argues that there is a lack of evidence to justify the delayed reopening of the sector.

It comes off the back of a previous action by Lord, which forced the Government to drop its ‘substantial meal' rule.

In an update over the weekend, Lord confirmed that High Court judge Mr Justice Swift had ordered that the Health Secretary 'shall by 10am on Tuesday April 6 file and serve his response to the application'.

However, it is unlikely that he will attend in person, with officials from the Department for Health and Social Care expected to attend on his behalf.

According to High Court documents seen by The Telegraph​,​ Lord and Osmond are challenging “the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 to the extent that those Regulations provide for non-essential retail businesses to reopen before indoor hospitality businesses”.

Writing in The Telegraph​, Osmond said: "The Government left us no choice but to take it to court.

"This is a truly urgent matter affecting the lives of millions that simply cannot wait."

An update on the case is expected later today.

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