MPs must physically attend Parliament again from June 2. Let’s see how THAT works for them…

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he wants a return to the way Parliament was conducted long ago and he doesn’t care if MPs die as a result.

MPs have voted to end the “virtual” Parliamentary proceedings they have been enjoying since the lockdown started.

From June 2, they will have to attend in order to take part in debates – even though the limit of 50 people in the Commons chamber at any time will remain.

How’s that going to work, then?

Jacob Rees-Mogg, laughably the current Leader of the House, reckons the change will restore sufficient scrutiny of policy matters, but it is difficult to understand his reasoning.

With fewer people allowed in the Chamber, there will be less opportunity for our representatives to have their voices heard.

Rees-Mogg whined that virtual proceedings slowed down debates to one-third of normal pace – but isn’t that better than excluding MPs from debates altogether?

And then there’s the question of whether the decision is effectively one to “euthanise” MPs:

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been told by a senior Conservative backbencher that an attempt to return to a “physical” parliament will in effect “euthanise” MPs who are sick, shielding and self-isolating.

Former minister Robert Halfon said the proposals would discriminate and threaten the lives of some MPs.

“Is it really morally just to say in effect to MPs, because you are not Tarzan-like and able to swing through the chamber, beating your chest shouting to your constituents: ‘Look, I am here!’ that you are effectively euthanised from the Commons?

“MPs who are disrupted by this awful pandemic are not just old horses to be sent to the knackers’ yard,” he said.

Some of you may be confused by Mr Halfon’s speech.

It seems he was not suggesting that MPs would catch the coronavirus and die in what some members of the public might consider a mercy-killing (as far as the UK’s citizens are concerned).

Instead, it seems he was suggesting that MPs would be excluded from proceedings, meaning they might as well be dead as far as the good of their constituents is concerned. It’s opaque.

More to the point, perhaps is a letter signed by 35 MPs, arguing that a return to a “physical” parliament could mean that those in high-risk categories including BAME MPs, older MPs or those who are pregnant will be disproportionately restricted.

One very dangerous aspect will be the return of physical voting, in which MPs will be packed into small spaces as they file through the “aye” or “no” lobby. That creates a threat of contracting Covid-19, that could be fatal for some.

But Rees-Mogg was never likely to listen to arguments against it. That is the traditional way in which MPs vote and, as the “Member for the 18th Century”, his emotional tie to it far outweighs any concern for the wellbeing of others.

ADDITIONAL: A reader has just reminded me that MPs were all given £10,000 to facilitate working from home. Are they going to give any of that money back? Ten big ones for just eight weeks’ lockdown seems exorbitantly excessive to This Writer!

Source: MPs told to return to Parliament by June 2 despite health concerns – ITV News

6 thoughts on “MPs must physically attend Parliament again from June 2. Let’s see how THAT works for them…

  1. Hecuba

    Given MPs are being ordered by the fascist tory government to ‘return to work and attend Parliament’ this is an ideal opportunity for them to exclude MPs who are not fascist tory!

    As only 50 MPs at any one time will be permitted to attend the chambers this presents an ideal opportunity for fascist tory dictator boris and his henchman Rees-Mogg to ensure the 50 MPs are all fascist tories!

    So this is democracy – oh wait it’s fascism! But never mind the 50 fascist tory MPs will be enacting their duty of ‘representing their constituents.’ It will also ensure the fascist tory eugenic policies will continue to be passed without any scrutiny because this is the ‘new democracy/fascism in action!’

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It will be interesting to see how it’s done. The rule should be that a proportionate number of MPs is in the chamber at any time – but in most debates, that doesn’t happen at the best of times.

  2. hugosmum70

    this is very weird….. days after the debacle about sending primary school kids back to school with parents refusing to do so. local councils likewise and teachers joining in with all that saying they cant see how they can do the social distancing with that age group of kids or with the facilities they have,, and most saying WHEN PARLIAMENTARY BENCHES ARE FILLED ONCE AGAIN , THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL THEY FEEL ITS SAFE FOR THEIR LITTLE ONES TO RETURN TO SCHOOL ………….. NOW REES – MOGG. is ordering his MPs to go into the chamber to take part (or what? he hasn’t said…but it does sound like a threat…… they are elected by their constituents not by rees-mogg. i feel he is doing this so parents and teachers dont have that lever anymore. once MPs go back they will by law have to let their kids attend school as normal. look out for the next wave of covid-19.. because of one mans arrogance and stubbornness we could be seeing a lot of MPs and young children getting this terrible virus. lives are obviously not worth s**t to that man.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Only 50 MPs will be allowed in the Commons chamber at any time, so parents will still be justified if they don’t let their kids go to school; the chamber will not be full in the way they described.

  3. Wanda Lozinska

    Seeing as the Tories have an unassailable majority, opposition MPs could boycott the HoC and leave the Tories to spread the virus amongst themselves. We could do with a few by elections to reduce their majority!

    PS The £10k was the expenses limit to cover the cost of buying any extra equipment they needed so they could work from home. They didn’t actually receive it as a bonus payment.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      So that money will definitely have been spent then. MPs love splurging on expenses money.

      For all the good their votes would do, you’re right that Opposition MPs could just boycott the Commons. I think they probably won’t because they’ll want Hansard to publish their arguments against what the Tories are doing.

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