House of Lords to form coronavirus committee to scrutinise government response

PUBLISHED: 12:08 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:08 01 May 2020

The House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

The House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The House of Lords is to scrutinise the government’s coronavirus response with the formation of a new Covid-19 committee.

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The House of Lords Liaison Committee has recommended the immediate establishment to undertake “cross-cutting” scrutiny of the long-term implications of coronavirus.

The new committee should have a broad remit, looking at economic, societal and wider international implications of the virus, a report by the Liaison Committee said.

It added that the Covid-19 committee should draw upon members with world-class expertise in each of these fields and should also work to develop understanding of the lessons learned from the pandemic and how they can be applied in the future.

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The Liaison Committee’s recommendation to establish the new committee will be put to a motion for agreement in the House of Lords.

Lord McFall of Alcluith, senior deputy speaker of The House of Lords, said: “This is the first time either House has sought to establish a new committee dedicated to the Covid-19 emergency and the government’s response to it.

“Two key strengths of Lords committees are their cross-cutting nature, they are thematic in approach rather than set-up to shadow government departments, and the real world experience our members can bring to them.

“These strengths will be much in evidence in the new Covid-19 Committee which will be made up of experts across a whole range of relevant professional backgrounds and be free to consider all the aspects and impact of the current crisis including on the economy, education and the social bonds between generations.

“I firmly believe the new committee will have a key role to play in ensuring we learn the right lessons from the crisis and understand to the fullest extent its effects upon our society, economy, and way of life.”

Members will then be appointed to the committee in the coming weeks.

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