2 November 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Four nations meeting welcome “first step” – Liberal Democrats
  • Government urged to “lead by example” and restore hybrid Parliament

Four nations meeting welcome “first step” – Liberal Democrats

Responding to news that the four Governments of the UK have met to develop a UK-wide approach to restrictions for the festive period, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

People across our family of nations will be reassured to hear that efforts are at last underway to ensure everyone is subject to the same guidance as they plan for the festive period, as first called for by the Liberal Democrats.

But today’s meeting can only be a first step. We need to see results, not just platitudes. That means comprehensive, uniform guidance for family gatherings across the UK, as well as a common approach to transport, student return and asymptomatic testing. This must happen urgently.

If we are to both keep people safe and ensure families have any chance of spending holidays such as Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas together, then Ministers across these isles must now get a grip on the failing test, trace and isolate trace system.

Government urged to “lead by example” and restore hybrid Parliament

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to reflect on the increased risk from the rise of coronavirus cases and bring back a hybrid Parliament and remote voting as soon as possible.

Speaking at Business Questions in the House of Commons today, Wera Hobhouse warned MPs should put “the safety of citizens first” and “demonstrate, through our own actions, that this lockdown is different” by adapting working practices.

The call follows the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, warning that MPs could “easily become superspreaders.” However, in response to Wera Hobhouse, the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg refused the request.

The fully virtual Parliament, which was in place during the last lockdown from March to May, allowed MPs to take part in debates, committee, questions, and voting whilst remaining in their constituencies.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:

Tens of thousands of people have already died during this pandemic. To protect vulnerable people, we need to all follow public health advice.

The Government must lead by example and immediately reinstate the virtual Parliament. Over the last lockdown, staff worked hard to put in place a secure system. This proved that MPs – like many people across the country – can do their jobs from home.

Restoring the virtual parliament will put an end to putting MPs in the impossible situation of choosing between fully participating in Parliament and protecting those around them – who in many cases could be key workers.

Throughout this crisis the Government have undermined themselves, acting as though it is one rule for the general public and another for people in power. It is time they learnt from their mistakes.