News | Published March 25 2020

House of Commons to vote on suspension of parliament to prevent coronavirus spread

Parliament is expected to close this evening following a vote on emergency laws to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

A managed return to parliament on 21 April to discuss Budget legislation has been proposed.

At present, the House of Commons was to break for Easter next Tuesday, 31 March.

Concerns have been raised that keeping parliament open was contrary to the government’s plans to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is believed that members of the Cabinet will continue to communicate, using video conferencing as opposed to meeting in person.

Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC political editor, said that Westminster was a known hotspot for the virus, and that a number of MPs were in self isolation, including Nadine Dorries, the health minister.

Kuenssberg said that following the return on 21 April, MPs may be asked to vote to suspend parliament once more in the interest of protecting politicians and civil servants alike.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the commons speaker, has urged MPs to distance themselves from one another when in the chamber, and introduced a staggered voting system to limit the number of politicians in the house at any one time.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the house, has expressed his gratitude to all those who have worked to complete the emergency legislation.

He said: "Further discussions will continue within government, with the parliamentary authorities and members to ensure Parliament operates safely for all those who work there.

"The legislature must be able to continue its vital democratic functions of conducting scrutiny, authorising spending and making laws."

Chris Bryant, a Labour MP, said that: "It must be wrong that Parliament is suspended before the government has a proper package in place for the self-employed."

The bill in question provides the government with emergency powers to deal with the spread of the disease. It is believed the bill will be passed today, once the House of Lords approve it.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 25 2020

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