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The more MPs physically attend debates the greater the risk to them and to staff

11 January 2021

Despite the worsening health situation in London and the rest of the country the government is continuing to insist MPs be physically present for Westminster Hall debates and that voting not be done remotely.

House of Parliament

Some progress has been made to protect staff and the Speaker has instructed MPs to wear a mask, even in the chamber, except when speaking. More does need to be done.

Garry Graham, Prospect deputy general secretary, said:

“With infections, hospitalisations, and deaths tragically rising across the country, and a full blown government advertising campaign urging people to Stay at Home, it is beyond belief that MPs are still being told to travel hundreds of miles across the country just to take part in Westminster Hall debates.

“The technology exists to allow MPs to take part in debates online and to vote remotely, yet the government, for reasons that are completely incomprehensible, is refusing to use it .

“The more MPs that come in for debates, the more staff are required and the greater the threat to everyone. The greatest threat to the continued functioning of our democracy is not online debates, it is the real risk of an outbreak in Westminster that would put politicians and staff at risk. The government’s stubborn refusal to act is making this more, not less, likely.”

 


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