Labour leader Keir Starmer to take on Dominic Raab face to face in PMQs
PUBLISHED: 09:46 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:05 22 April 2020
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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will go head to head with foreign secretary Dominic Raab in the first round of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) since Easter.
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Starmer will make his debut at the dispatch box on Wednesday where he is expected to question Raab on his government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
The newly-elected leader will be in the Commons at midday after he ditched plans to take questions via video link.
House speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has lined up 50 MPs expected to partake in question time. An additional 120 will be joining on Zoom after security officials from the National Cyber Security Centre gave the videoconferencing software the green light for parliamentary debates.
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Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said: “It will be a historic moment in our 700-year history to have MPs contributing to Prime Minister’s Questions, urgent questions and statements via video link from the safety of their own homes and offices.
“If it works, the House will consider extending the measures to a fully virtual parliament as quickly as possible to include debates on motions and legislation and even a system of remote voting.”
MORE: Jeremy Corbyn to flout coronavirus guidance to ask question at PMQs
Health secretary Matt Hancock is expected to update the chamber later on the coronavirus crisis.
Under social distancing rules being enforced at Westminster, MPs are now being asked to avoid the Commons and join debates via video link when possible. Screens have been placed around the chamber to allow remaining MPs to see their colleagues at home.
MPs wanting to participate in debate will need to notify the House Service while backbench MP names will be drawn at random by the speaker, as usual.
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