The way that parliament works during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic needs to be reviewed, the shadow transport secretary has suggested. Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge programme following a week in which MPs were required to queue in order to vote, Labour’s Jim McMahon has backed a return to electronic voting.
I do think we need to review the way that Parliament works. The frustration with Parliament of course is if it’s at all avoidable, then it should be avoided and we can vote electronically, we can vote in 15 seconds, we don’t have to be queuing up for 40 minutes.
Aside from it being unsafe in my view, it’s often a massively inefficient way of working.
On 2 June, Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle had tweeted:
This queue stretches out of the Palace, across a courtyard and into another building.
— Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP🌹🇪🇺🏳️🌈 (@lloyd_rm) June 2, 2020
McMahon also questioned the government’s decision to wait until 15 June to make the wearing of a face covering compulsory on public transport in England. He said:
I’ll be coming down on Monday from the North West – where the R (transmission) rate is a huge concern for people here – down to London.
I think the question is, well why wait? Face coverings are now required to keep people safe on public transport, why wait a week? Am I more or less of a risk this Monday than I’ll be the following Monday?
In terms of equity, MPs were in Parliament lining up, often breaking social distancing because of the pinch points, in terms of upholding our democratic responsibility.
We all need to understand that peaceful assembly is also a very important part of our democratic process as well.
And so of course, we don’t want anybody to break social distancing, we want to make sure that we control the virus, but we also need to put it into perspective as well.
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