Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Chair, Human Rights (Joint Committee), Chair, Human Rights (Joint Committee) 3:31 pm, 9th March 2020

The Secretary of State made it clear in his answer to the urgent question that parliamentary accountability is fundamental—that is evidenced by so many Members on both sides of the House rising to raise myriad issues —yet despite that acknowledgment we are hearing reports that after Easter the House might be suspended until September. Will he give an undertaking that that will not be the case? Will he recognise that, as a big organisation of 650 MPs and thousands of staff, we can play our part in containment without opting for the nuclear option of closing down accountability altogether? Other measures could be considered, such as using Westminster Hall on a UQ basis, so that we have continuous accountability for what the Government are doing through Parliament, albeit in a different form.