MPs told to stay away from Boris Johnson’s PMQs session
- Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images
MPs have been told to stay away from Prime Minister's Questions unless they are expected to be called to quiz Boris Johnson.
Conservative and Labour whips are understood to have told their MPs not to attend the chamber unless they have a question listed on the order paper.
The move comes after MPs expressed unease about parliament continuing to function as normal during the coronavirus crisis despite the official advice on social distancing.
Mother of the House Harriet Harman criticised the 'packed back benches' and a 'bustling tea room' at a time when members of the public were being urged to work from home and avoid pubs and restaurants.
The veteran Labour MP said the situation was setting a bad example to the country.
You may also want to watch:
She suggested that a process of 'streamlined online accountability' could be a replacement for hundreds of MPs packing into the chamber.
Fellow Labour MP Lucy Powell said: 'We should be practising what we are preaching.
- 1 The greatest failure of government in our lifetime
- 3 Matt Hancock praises free school meals before being reminded he voted against them
- 4 James O'Brien schools Brexiteer who refuses to accept new EU-UK trade rules
- 5 Katie Hopkins joins UKIP in time for leadership contest
- 6 Brexiteer MP ridiculed after calling for free movement of goods between GB and NI
- 7 What Remainers should have done differently
- 8 Scottish fishing boats ditch UK waters for Denmark to escape Brexit red tape
- 9 Spokesman indicates Boris Johnson has not read Brexit trade deal text
- 10 The polling that signals the plight of the Union
'MPs sitting cheek by jowl all day, heading back off around the country, isn't good.'
In the Lords, elderly peers have been told it is not their 'duty' to attend parliament during the crisis.
The Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, said that as parliamentarians it was their duty to show leadership and 'heed the advice of public health experts'.
'Parliament will continue to sit. That is important. But the way we operate will have to change,' Lord Fowler said.
So far, two MPs have confirmed positive tests for the coronavirus, but more are self-isolating, including cabinet minister Oliver Dowden.