House Business during the Pandemic

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:49 pm on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 7:49 pm, 8th June 2020

I am very grateful to all hon. and right hon. Members for their contributions to the debate. In responding, I essentially want to make one point.

This is not just about Members of Parliament. If I have learned nothing else over the years, I have learned that the market for Members of Parliament complaining about how difficult their life is, is an exceptionally niche one populated mostly by Members of Parliament and occasionally their mothers. It is not about that. It is about the very simple straightforward principle: the principle of the equality of participation and access to all who are elected to this House.

The question I sought to put to the Leader of the House was this: why is he insisting that we should abandon that principle, as important as it is, and do it so blithely? I made that point in my speech and others made it in theirs. I put it directly to him in an intervention on his speech. It will not be lost on anyone reading our proceedings now or in the future, that the Leader of the House had no answer to that simple straightforward fundamental question. This is an error of judgment of potentially catastrophic magnitude. It is a judgment, ultimately, for which the Leader of the House may have to be responsible. I hope there will be no doubt about that should this all go wrong.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the Conduct of House business during the pandemic.