Labour MP joins calls for Boris Johnson to make coronavirus lockdown statement in parliament

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement outside 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Stefan Roussea

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement outside 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Former Commons leader and Labour MP Chris Bryant has joined calls for Boris Johnson to make his coronavirus lockdown exit statement in parliament.

The MP for Rhondda follows Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle in criticising the prime minister for avoiding parliamentary scrutiny after choosing to make his statement in public.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce an easing of lockdown measures on Sunday when the chamber does not sit.

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Bryant told the Commons: 'The reason the prime minister is making the statement on Sunday is because he wants to avoid the House of Commons. You, Mr speaker, are quite right to have already told him off on that basis.'

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The Welsh MP called for Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to schedule a time in the Commons to scrutinise Johnson's statement.

MORE: Alastair Campbell fears things could go from 'bad to worse' with government's coronavirus response.

'I'm begging (Rees-Mogg) please make sure that we have more time to ask questions of government ministers,' he said, adding they were not attending the chamber often enough to face questioning.

'We want to talk about the issues that are happening in our constituencies, we need to challenge the government on these issues and we can't if the prime minister won't even come to the House,' he added.

Earlier, Sir Lindsay said he 'regretted' Johnson's decision not to brief parliament on his lockdown exit roadmap.

Rees-Mogg accepted the criticism, saying: 'I accept what (Bryant) is saying that a virtual parliament is not a substitute for the real parliament. Apart from anything else, we are missing the constant chirruping from (Bryant).'

He also confirmed that Boris Johnson will address the Commons on Monday.

Former Blair aide Alastair Campbell chimed into the debate earlier, criticising the prime minister for addressing the media ahead of parliament when he returned to work last week.

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