Former Brexit secretary wants MPs to be tested daily to end social distancing

David Davis speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

David Davis speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

Former Brexit secretary wants MPs to be tested daily for coronavirus to put an end to social distancing measures in the House of Commons.

Davis was one of the MPs to criticise the procedures brought in by Jacob Rees-Mogg and the government to keep the Commons running during the pandemic.

He suggested that if Vienna Airport in Austria is able to turn around Covid-19 tests in two or three hours, then parliament could similarly set up testing infrastructure to ensure MPs are not ill before they enter the chamber.

Davis told MPs: 'Every morning, between 8 and 9.30am - and it might be that we don't start until 12.30pm - every single person who comes into this chamber can be tested.

'Then we don't need the two-metre rule anymore and we can suddenly have back the Parliament that was and is the envy of the world.'

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He added: 'We currently have, it is said, according to government numbers, a surplus of 80,000 tests a day. So we are not short of tests anymore.'

Davis also criticised what he said was a lack of scrutiny of the government by MPs because of the social distancing measures.

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He said: 'The fact is this House has no life. It does not challenge ministers properly.

'It must be the easiest thing in the world - I've done it a few times now - to come to this despatch box and deal with this House as it currently stands.

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'A large part of that arises because of the two-metre rule and the fact we can only have 50 people in the chamber.

'The atmosphere, the drive, the ferocity, the mood of the House, just doesn't exist.'

Davis added: 'The operation of democracy today, as we observe it in this House, is more enfeebled than I've seen it in 33 years here.

'And frankly that is a tragedy and that is a tragedy of the government's making and one we need to fix as soon as possible.'

Davis added: 'Democracy is critical to good governance and that is not what we are seeing here today.'

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