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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:04 pm on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 1:04 pm, 25th March 2020

The right hon Lady rightly sends the House’s good wishes to the Prince of Wales—God bless the Prince of Wales—and, indeed, to the Queen. We will come back on 21 April, which is, of course, Her Majesty’s actual rather than official birthday, so let us hope that affairs are in a better state by then.

The right hon. Lady referred to tests, and I reiterate what my right hon Friend the Prime Minister said earlier: there is an absolute determination to increase testing as fast as possible. That is of great importance, and it is being worked on.

The Government are extremely grateful for the co-operation from Opposition parties. When Opposition parties co-operate with the Government, it is not always seen because what they achieve is done behind the scenes, but the Opposition parties have contributed considerably to the Coronavirus Bill and to ensuring its passage through the House. I thank them for a model way of working in very difficult times.

On the voting issue, Mr Speaker, you came up with proposals for how we would vote had we voted this week, which I think were sensible, but, yes, there is more work to be done and we will have to discuss working practices when we get back, depending on how affairs look on 21 April or shortly before. The right hon Lady referred to the written statement on the Boundary Commission. When we get back, there will be opportunities for normal scrutiny once we are back fully operational.

I am delighted to see that the Leader of the Opposition is back in his place, so I, too, may pay tribute to him. I perhaps have a particular admiration for him, which may surprise him—