Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:46 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 5:46 pm, 12th October 2020

I thank the Leader of the House for coming to the House to make a statement.

When will these regulations be published? The Leader of the House listed all of them. Will they be taken together, or separately by region? How long will the debate on the regulations be? Will it be a full day’s debate? There are constituents who are losing their jobs as we speak, and they will expect their MPs to scrutinise and debate the regulations fully. Will the subject matter include the package of economic support available for the communities affected and the evidence that has been used to place our constituencies in the different tiers?

The Leader of the House will know that Members have been unable to take part in some of the debates on primary legislation for public health reasons. Could he confirm that we can return to virtual debates allowing all hon. Members to take part equally as these regulations are so important and they need to do their democratic duty on behalf of their constituents?

The Secretary of State for Health said on Wednesday that there will be a new convention that wherever possible we will be holding votes before such regulations come into force. Could the Leader of the House confirm that if there are any future changes to the tiered system where constituencies are moved from one tier to another, we can have a debate and a vote on that?

We will work with the Government if there is any legislation that needs to be expedited. However, the House first heard of the financial package on Friday when the Chancellor made a statement to the media at the same time as the Prime Minister was talking to the leaders in the north-east and the north-west, and some of our colleagues—hon. and right hon. Members—were not even invited to that call. Will the Chancellor come to the House regarding any future package, because economic support goes hand in hand with lockdown measures? We should not have to hear about this in a “Dear colleague” letter when he is just across the road.

All our citizens behaved absolutely brilliantly during the first lockdown, and that resulted in a lifting of restrictions over the summer. Will the Government repay that trust by ensuring that they treat our constituents’ elected representatives in a democratic way by informing hon. and right hon. Members of any measures that are made in this House, and doing so expeditiously?