Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:41 pm on 30th December 2020.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Chief Secretary) 5:41 pm, 30th December 2020

If the Leader of the House thinks that the current arrangements represent a covid-secure Parliament, he must have been attending a different Parliament from the one I attended in the last four weeks before Christmas, and if he thinks that that represents a functioning democracy, he must be living on a different planet from most of us.

My Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill is due to receive its Second Reading in early January—in fact, there may be a decision of the House on that later today. A large number of MPs have told me that they would be keen to speak in that debate, and it would be perfectly easy to allow them to do that remotely, but the Leader of the House is determined that they must instead travel from all over the United Kingdom to Westminster, inevitably creating an additional risk of spreading the virus. Will he agree to reconsider his dogmatic and irrational opposition to allowing full participation in all proceedings of the House so that MPs who want to speak in support of our NHS can do so without themselves running the risk of placing an extra burden on our health services?