Veteran Labour MP says Boris Johnson is well enough to answer questions from MPs

PUBLISHED: 11:30 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:37 23 April 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference, at 10 Downing Street, in London, on the government's coronavirus action plan. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference, at 10 Downing Street, in London, on the government's coronavirus action plan. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson is well enough to attend the virtual parliament to answer questions from MPs, veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman has suggested.

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The mother of the House of Commons, who is the longest standing female MP, said that if Johnson was well enough to talk with Donald Trump and the Queen he is well enough to take Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

Johnson is said to not be doing any formal government work, and has so far avoided PMQs, but Harman said that the prime minister should be able to now make use of the virtual parliament arrangements.

“I don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to do Prime Minister’s Questions from Chequers or No 10 Downing Street or wherever he is working from,” she told Sky News.

“I think if he is well enough to be conducting discussions on behalf of this country with the president of the United States, if he’s well enough to be issuing instructions to all parts of government, then I think part of that is giving answers publicly to what he is doing.”


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Harman said that if Johnson was well enough to do other duties, he should be able to be held accountable by parliament in the interests of accountability.

“I think accountability really is part of the job is what I’m saying and if he’s well enough to do the job then he must be accountable as well.

“We can’t have a situation where we’ve got a prime minister behind the scenes and we’ve got somebody else speaking on his behalf.”

The first round of PMQs under the new virtual parliament arrangements was left to Dominic Raab.

It is reported that ministers expect the prime minister will return in time for VE Day on May 8th.

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