Tory MPs were happy for us to go back to work – but are they frit of returning to Parliament themselves?

House of Commons: here’s a scene that won’t be allowed while the coronavirus crisis continues. But Boris Johnson called for others to go back to work, ensuring that they would be packed like sardines into public transport whether he wanted it or not.

Little did This Writer know, when I reported that Jacob Rees-Mogg wanted MPs to go back to work, that he was going to insist on it.

It seems that, as Leader of the House of Commons, he is determined that MPs should set an example for others who are being asked to go back to their jobs by Boris Johnson:

It’s certainly true that  some MPs aren’t too keen:

Valerie Vaz, Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, said she was “alarmed” by Mr Rees-Mogg’s announcement and asked why parliament should “contradict” the government’s own health advice by returning to “business as usual” in June.

The SNP’s Tommy Sheppard said it was a “fantasy” to believe that physical sittings could resume in June without special procedures being in place.

He asked what should happen to MPs considered among those most vulnerable to coronavirus, or Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs, whose devolved governments have not yet eased any lockdown measures.

Rees-Mogg, of course, instantly seized on this as a way to run down the opposition:

He said: “How can we say to our schoolchildren, ‘you’re safe going back’, some of them, but that we’re not, that we’re going to hide away whilst schoolchildren are going back – is that the right message to give to our constituents?”


MPs have every right to be afraid of returning to Parliament, if they can’t be assured that social distancing rules will be maintained, or that they won’t be exposed to a risk of catching the coronavirus from other people working on the Parliamentary estate.

And of course those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have those countries’ “no movement” rules to consider; they aren’t actually allowed out to attend Parliament.

Clive Lewis is right about the motivation for Rees-Mogg’s decision:

Yes – but will it trump Tory self-interest?

We’ll find out when we see how many of them turn up after the Whitsun break.

It’s a “win-win” scenario for everybody who isn’t a Tory, of course.

If they don’t turn up, they’re cowards who are afraid to support their own government’s policy; if they do, they’ll probably catch Covid-19 and spend some time in hospital.

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4 thoughts on “Tory MPs were happy for us to go back to work – but are they frit of returning to Parliament themselves?

  1. chriskitcher

    Johnson is ineffective when he does not have the braying idiots on the Tory side of the house supporting him. These last two weeks have exposed just how shallow he is without his asylum of supportive idiots.

    This is an attempt by JRM to garner that support to make Johnson look respectable.

  2. J Edington

    The Scottish secretary of state has already said that he will return, claiming to be a key worker. I wouldn’t bet against the entire (well, 6 or so) Tory band flocking south, simply as a snipe at the Scottish Government, to hell with risking people’s health or lives.

  3. Hecuba

    It will be interesting to see if the MPs who refuse to return to work will be punished financially by having their salaries reduced! Hope all the fascist tories go back to house of commons and contract the virus! This will prove fascist dictator boris doesn’t even care about his fascist tory bros! Still never mind dictator fascist boris has already had the virus so he will think he can’t contract it again – and I doubt he will even attend any House of Commons debates given he is work shy!

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