Brexiteer MP Steve Baker has posted a video rant describing new voting measures in the Commons as a ‘farce’ – before going on to vote for them.
The former chair of the European Research Group posted a video on his Twitter account berating recent remote voting guidelines with a video of him queuing outside of parliament just to cast a vote. He then went on to back the new system in a vote moments later.
‘So this is new remote voting in the House of Commons,’ Baker says. ‘There is queue snaking all the way around the gardens here and there is a queue snaking all the way behind me.
‘What’s even worse than the practical reality is that it is all being played out in front of the political lobby journalists so this is a complete farce and I should think we’ll be back to remote voting before we’re much older.’
He then shared another tweet calling for a ‘return to normal voting’ when it was ‘safe’ to do so. ‘The space and time taken up by this alternative [voting system] do not seem a good way to serve the public,’ he wrote.
Baker voted for the new measures, which have forced MPs back into the Commons in order to vote or debate. The move has sparked fierce criticism from MPs and health professionals who say it could help spread the virus while politicians have claimed colleagues with health problems would be excluded from parliamentary business.
Twitter users were quick to ridicule the MP over his sudden change of mind. Journalist Josiah Mortimer shared a photo of Baker voting for the amendment to bring his colleagues back to the chamber saying: ‘Yet you voted for the farce…’
Matt Towbridge called Baker a ‘typical Brexiteer’ who had ‘no idea what he voted for.’ Teacher Debra Kidd wrote: ‘Man who voted for something complaining about the thing he voted for…’
Andrew Smith said: ‘Steve Baker is right, he must be really annoyed at the MPs who voted to stop remote voting. Including *looks at notes* Steve Baker MP.’
Linda Bauld, a professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said it was ‘insane’ to make MPs return to the Commons to vote.
She told the PA News Agency: ‘I thought that was a really insane idea to require people to go back into Westminster, in terms of infection controls.’
She said occupying the same space as someone speaking could heightened the risk of the virus spreading. ‘I think these small droplets that we emit when we breathe normally are still a risk and that’s why close contact is a risk,’ she said.
‘So immediately occupying the same space as somebody is probably not a great idea.’