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MPs urged to set return-to-work 'national example' with more Commons sittings in lockdown

Boris Johnson has called for Parliament to set a "national example"

2 min read

MPs have been asked to set a "national example" by attending Parliament in person more often as the lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government said more "physical proceedings" should be held in the chamber in an effort to show businesses how they can continue to operate under the new health guidelines.

It comes as part of the the Prime Minister's plans for a phased reopening of the economy, with sectors including manufacturing and construction asked to return to work later this week so long as new social distancing measures can be introduced to keep employees safe.

Under 'hybrid' plans approved in April, only a handful of MPs have been allowed to attend the Commons in person, with the majority taking part in question sessions via video link.

Meanwhile, Commons authorities have placed markers around the chamber to indicate where MPs are allowed to sit to ensure strict social distancing rules are followed.

But in the new 60-page 'roadmap' published on Monday, the Government said: "It is vital that Parliament can continue to scrutinise the Government, consider the Government’s ambitious legislative agenda and legislate to support the COVID-19 response.

"Parliament must set a national example of how business can continue in this new normal; and it must move, in step with public health guidance, to get back to business as part of this next step, including a move towards further physical proceedings in the House of Commons."

Westminster proved to be a hot spot for the spread of the virus before the lockdown was implemented, with several MPs, including Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both testing positive for the illness.

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