Prospect calls for action after MPs flout mask rules

18 August 2021

Prospect has condemned MPs who failed to wear masks during the special recall debate on Wednesday and called for action from the parliamentary authorities to protect staff.

The union represents hundreds of staff working in parliament has has been calling for MPs to be bound by the same rules on mask wearing that apply to other staff.

During the debate large numbers of MPs, especially on the government side and including the entire government front bench of leading ministers, were seen to be flouting the Speaker’s strong advice that they should wear masks when not speaking.

The debate saw hundreds of MPs pack into the Chamber, after restrictions on numbers lapsed in July.

Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy said:

“With national attention fixed on this important debate in the Commons today, it was all the more frustrating that so many MPs, including the entire government front bench and most of the backbenchers, chose to ignore the Speaker’s very clear advice about wearing masks in an enclosed space.

“Not only does this show huge disrespect to the Speaker, it demonstrates contempt for the safety of their colleagues and the many staff attending the packed chamber who are required to wear masks.

“It is abundantly clear that large numbers of MPs believe that rules simply don’t apply to them, and are comfortable with recklessly undermining public health messaging.

“With the Commons set to resume full time in just a few weeks, it is time to rethink the light touch approach to mask wearing in the chamber. It has demonstrably failed and more rigorous enforcement must be considered.”