The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to reflect on the increased risk from the rise of coronavirus cases and bring back a hybrid Parliament and remote voting as soon as possible.
Speaking at Business Questions in the House of Commons today, Wera Hobhouse warned MPs should put “the safety of citizens first” and “demonstrate, through our own actions, that this lockdown is different” by adapting working practices.
The call follows the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, warning that MPs could “easily become superspreaders.” However, in response to Wera Hobhouse, the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg refused the request.
The fully virtual Parliament, which was in place during the last lockdown from March to May, allowed MPs to take part in debates, committee, questions, and voting whilst remaining in their constituencies.
Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said: “Tens of thousands of people have already died during this pandemic. To protect vulnerable people, we need to all follow public health advice.
“The Government must lead by example and immediately reinstate the virtual Parliament. Over the last lockdown, staff worked hard to put in place a secure system. This proved that MPs – like many people across the country – can do their jobs from home.
“Restoring the virtual parliament will put an end to putting MPs in the impossible situation of choosing between fully participating in Parliament and protecting those around them – who in many cases could be key workers.
“Throughout this crisis the Government have undermined themselves, acting as though it is one rule for the general public and another for people in power. It is time they learnt from their mistakes.”