MPs could be ‘superspreaders’ and virtual parliament should be considered again, Speaker says

Sir Lindsay Hoyle rebukes MP who travelled while awaiting results of Covid-19 test

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 14 October 2020 12:52
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Hoyle appeals to government on virtual parliament

MPs could be “superspreaders" of Covid-19, the House of Commons speaker has warned, as he suggested a virtual Parliament is considered again.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle encouraged parliamentarians not to “put themselves at risk” and “make sure you are here for the long”term".

“What we have got to watch out, [is that] MPs could easily become superspreaders because they come from all parts of the country,” he told Times Radio.

"Whatever happens, people's lives matter most, their health comes first and people with certain medical conditions, people of a certain age – I'm saying you've got to look after yourself.

"My advice – and it's advice not instructions – is to say put yourself first, look after yourself and make sure you are here for the long-term ... do not put yourself at risk – that's either travelling or coming into this building."

The speaker said it is up to the House to decide whether to return to an almost virtual Parliament, but when asked what he would do if it was his decision, said: "I would say let's look at it straight away and let's start to move to a new place."

Speaking before Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Sir Lindsay said it was up to the prime minister to bring forward a motion for a virtual Parliament.

He said if the government wished to give him the power to make the decision, he would be "more than happy to accept it," but said the decision to bring forward the relevant motion was a matter for the prime minister and his government.

In his interview with Times Radio, Sir Lindsay also rebuked MP Margaret Ferrier, who had the SNP whip withdrawn after she travelled while awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test.

“What she did was absolutely ridiculous. It was extraordinary to put everybody at risk when she travelled," he said.

"But also she came into this building, putting others at risk. And that's not acceptable. That's bad behaviour.

"That was the mistake – that was absolutely disgraceful and reckless to all of us. And that's the kind of thing I don't want to happen.

"And I've got to say, we've not, as far as I'm aware, and I check all the tags, we've not seen that repeated, the one thing we have is probably the best Track and Trace in the country in Parliament."

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