Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has slammed Jacob Rees-Mogg’s plan to force MPs back to the Commons, calling it a case of ‘do as we say, not as we do’.
Burnham appeared on the BBC’s Question Time show via videolink to say that the move to force MPs back to the chamber was a ‘poor decision’.
Earlier that day MPs supported the government’s plans to bring back politicians to parliament in order to vote on legislation and participate in debates from June 2, effectively ending the virtual voting system in place since April.
Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, who proposed the plan to the Commons, said it was important for politicians return to the Houses of Parliament to ‘set an example’ to the public.
Newspaper reports, however, have claimed senior Tory MPs want to be able to fill the House again to support a ‘rattled’ Boris Johnson up against Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Responding to claims from Chris Philp, a junior justice minister who said the government was reflecting its own advice on return-to-work rules, Burnham said: ‘I think it was a really poor decision taken by MPs this week.
‘We’re not asking schools to come fully back, we are asking them to come back on an interim basis.
‘But for parliament to vote to come back entirely sets a really bad example to the country, and let’s remember Westminster was a hotbed for the spread of the virus just a few weeks ago.’
Calling the move hypocritical, the former culture minister said: ‘Sometimes in parliament, it’s a case of do as we say, not as we do.
‘I just don’t think it’s acceptable.
‘It doesn’t suggest to me that the premier work place in the country is taking a safety first approach.’
Philp said the Commons would reconvene with special measures in place to ensure MPs remained socially distant.