Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:38 am on 15th October 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 10:38 am, 15th October 2020

My hon. Friend asks a really important question. At the beginning of the year, it was necessary for Parliament to sit virtually in order to continue to function and to scrutinise Government during the lockdown. But during remote proceedings it became clear that when working from home MPs were not able to perform their constitutional role as effectively, either in scrutinising the Government or in getting vital legislation on to the statute book. The House authorities have made really first-class efforts to ensure that physical proceedings are in operation in line with Public Health England guidance and are safe both for Members and for staff of the House. Your leadership, Mr Speaker, has been inspirational in these terms. It is the Government’s view that returning to a physical Parliament has allowed proper scrutiny to be restored with better debate and greater progress for legislation. It is only thanks to returning to physical proceedings in that carefully managed fashion that we have been able to scrutinise and pass new legislation effectively, including the new and urgent coronavirus regulations, and complete the essential transition period legislation.