Prospect calls for enhanced COVID measures in Parliament ahead of any recall

20 December 2021

Prospect, which represents workers on the parliamentary estate, has called on the government and House authorities to implement a series of measures to ensure that any recall of parliament is COVID-safe amid fears that it could become a super-spreader event.

The union expressed concern that so far the government had undermined many of its own messages on COVID safety and that it needed to set a proper example to the country, as well as protecting staff and elected members.

Prospect is calling for:
• Mandatory mask-wearing in the Chamber
• Expanded use of proxy voting to ensure as few people as possible congregate on the estate
• Mandatory negative Lateral Flow Test before coming onsite
• Social distancing in the Chamber

General Secretary of Prospect Mike Clancy said:

“If, as seems likely, Parliament has to be recalled to approve further COVID measures it must be done in such a way as to protect staff and elected representatives as much as possible. Today Prospect has set out some practical and easily implemented measures which would ensure this.

“Parliamentary staff will be putting their own Christmases on the line by facilitating a recall so the least MPs can do is take basic steps to minimise the risk. For too long the Leader of the House and the House authorities have allowed a situation where politicians in the Commons can be seen on TV not even following the guidance they expect the rest of us to abide by. That has to stop.

“If the public are going to follow necessary safety restrictions then politicians need to lead by example and they can start by wearing masks, social distancing and demonstrating a negative lateral flow before coming to the Commons. Surely this is the bare minimum people can expect from its government as it seeks, rightly, to curtail their freedom in the name of public health.”

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