Members: Coronavirus

Leader of the House written question – answered on 17th December 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Leader of the House, what steps he plans to take to allow hon. Members to adhere to the Tier 3: Very High Alert Guidance to (a) work from home if possible, (b) avoid travelling outside a Tier 3 area and (c) reduce the number of journeys made wherever possible; what assessment he has made of the effect on the transmission of covid-19 of allowing hon. Members to contribute to debates virtually whilst London is under Tier 3 Guidance; if he will take steps to allow hon. Members to contribute remotely to debates in the House of Commons; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The Government guidance is clear that you can continue to travel into or out of Local COVID Alert Level: Very High areas, if you need to for work, school, or caring responsibilities, or where doing so is necessary as part of a longer journey. It is the Government’s view that we best serve our constituents when we are in Westminster, carrying out our essential functions. The House authorities have put in place robust and effective measures to ensure that the House of Commons is a covid-secure workplace.

The Government is sympathetic to those Members who are currently unable to participate in some aspects of our proceeding and has worked hard to mitigate that, including a wide scale roll out of proxy voting and providing for remote participation in scrutiny proceedings. The Government also brought forward a motion to enable those Members who are clinically extremely vulnerable to contribute virtually in Chamber debates and it was unfortunate that this was talked out so the House did not make a decision. I will continue to engage with Members on how we best strike the balance between facilitating virtual participation and allowing scrutiny and legislation to continue. As I have always said, the Government continues to keep this matter under review.

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