Accueil Coronavirus David Davis: Covid restrictions giving ministers ‘pathetically easy time’ in the Commons

David Davis: Covid restrictions giving ministers ‘pathetically easy time’ in the Commons

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Covid-19 restrictions are allowing ministers to have a “pathetically easy time” in the Commons, Conservative MP David Davis has warned.

The former cabinet minister was among a raft of Tory MPs who criticised a Government motion to continue virtual proceedings in the chamber until November 3.

Mr Davis insisted that a “full and properly functioning” House is needed by October.

It comes ahead of key decisions on the Covid-19 response, the economy and Brexit.

Read more

Attendance in the Commons chamber has been limited to 50 MPs at any one time in line with social distancing requirements.

Other MPs are able to contribute via Zoom to parts of proceedings but not all.

Conservative MP David Davis takes part in the launch of a proposed UK-EU free trade agreement (. via .)

Lists are drawn up of who can speak in questions sessions and debates, and Westminster Hall debates are not expected to restart until October.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted ministers are being scrutinised and he is “very keen” for more MPs to be in the chamber, with the motion allowing remote participation for those who cannot attend.

He added any change in Public Health England advice could see social distancing rules in the chamber relaxed before November.

Mr Davis, who was first elected in 1987, told the debate: “This is the weakest House of Commons I have ever seen. It does not do its job.

“The House of Commons at its best is far greater than the sum of its parts, it’s an organic entity that actually reflects our constituents’ interests and pushes the Government to do better, to govern better, to make the right decisions first time out not after several, er, preliminary attempts.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted ministers are being scrutinised (.)

“I’m being as delicate as I can about what others would perhaps call U-turns.

“It gives ministers a pathetically easy time.

“Now that is actually not a benefit to ministers – having to come and stand at the despatch box and defend your case, think through before you arrive all of the weaknesses that might be in it is actually a way that our Government improves its case.”

Mr Davis said he was not concerned about the House’s performance in September as he does not expect it to be doing “many very important things”.

Coronavirus hits the UK – In pictures

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Electronic bilboards displays a message warning people to stay home in Sheffield

PA

2/50

An image of The Queen eith quotes from her broadcast to the UK and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus epidemic are displayed on lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus

PA

3/50

Boris Johnson addresses the nation on the Coronavirus lockdown

Andrew Parsons

4/50

Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas’ hospital

.

5/50

Durdle Door in Dorset

.

6/50

Captain Tom Moore

via .

7/50

Mia, aged 8, and Jack, aged 5, take part in « PE with Joe » a daily live workout with Joe Wicks on Youtube to help kids stay fit who have to stay indoors due to the Coronavirus outbreak

PA

8/50

An NHS worker reacts at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS

.

9/50

Goats which have taken over the deserted streets of Llandudno

@AndrewStuart via PA

10/50

Tobias Weller

PA

11/50

Novikov restaurant in London with its shutters pulled down while the restaurant is closed

12/50

London Landscapes: Hyde Park and the Serpentine, central London.

Matt Writtle

13/50

A newspaper vendor in Manchester city centre giving away free toilet rolls with every paper bought as shops run low on supplies due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus

PA

14/50

Theo Clay looks out of his window next to his hand-drawn picture of a rainbow in Liverpool, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue

.

15/50

A young man cuts another man’s hair on top of a closed hairdresser in Oxford

.

16/50

General view of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital, built to fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London

via .

17/50

Jason Baird is seen dressed as Spiderman during his daily exercise to cheer up local children in Stockport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

.

18/50

A woman wearing a face mask walks past Buckingham Palace

.

19/50

A man holds mobile phone displaying a text message alert sent by the government warning that new rules are in force across the UK and people must stay at home

PA

20/50

Medical staff on the Covid-19 ward at the Neath Port Talbot Hospital, in Wales, as the health services continue their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

21/50

Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking part in a virtual Cabinet meeting with his top team of ministers

PA

22/50

A shopper walks past empty shelves in a Lidl store on in Wallington. After spates of « panic buying » cleared supermarket shelves of items like toilet paper and cleaning products, stores across the UK have introduced limits on purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have also created special time slots for the elderly and other shoppers vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

.

23/50

People on a busy tube train in London at rush hour

PA

24/50

Mia, aged 8 and her brother Jack, aged 5 from Essex, continue their school work at home, after being sent home due to the coronavirus

PA

25/50

Children are painting ‘Chase the rainbows’ artwork and springing up in windows across the country

.

26/50

Social distancing in Primrose Hill

Jeremy Selwyn

27/50

Westminster Bridge is deserted

PA

28/50

A general view of a locked gate at Anfield, Liverpool as The Premier League has been suspended

PA

29/50

An empty escalator at Charing Coss London Underground tube station

Jeremy Selwyn

30/50

Homeless people in London

. via .

31/50

A piece of art by the artist, known as the Rebel Bear has appeared on a wall on Bank Street in Glasgow. The new addition to Glasgow’s street art is capturing the global Coronavirus crisis. The piece features a woman and a man pulling back to give each other a kiss

PA

32/50

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace, London, for Windsor Castle to socially distance herself amid the coronavirus pandemic

PA

33/50

A general view on Grey street, Newcastle as coronavirus cases grow around the world

.

34/50

Matt Raw, a British national who returned from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, leaves quaratine at Arrowe Park Hospital on Merseyside

PA

35/50

Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty (L) and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance look on as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news conference inside 10 Downing Street

.

36/50

The ticket-validation terminals at the tram stop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street are cleaned following the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

37/50

Locked school gates at Rockcliffe First School in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

PA

38/50

A sign at a Sainsbury’s supermarket informs customers that limits have been set on a small number of products as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases grow around the world

.

39/50

Jawad Javed delivers coronavirus protection kits that he and his wife have put together to the vulnerable people of their community of Stenhousemuir, between Glasgow and Edinburgh

. via .

40/50

A sign advertising a book titled « How Will We Survive On Earth? »

.

41/50

A man who appears to be homeless sleeping wearing a mask today in Victoria

Jeremy Selwyn

42/50

A pedestrian walks past graffiti that reads « Diseases are in the City » in Edinburgh

. via .

43/50

Staff from The Lyric Theatre, London inform patrons, as it shuts its doors

PA

44/50

A quiet looking George IV Bridge in Edinburgh

PA

45/50

A quieter than usual British Museum

.

46/50

A racegoer attends Cheltenham in a fashionable face mask

SplashNews.com

47/50

A commuter wears a face mask at London Bridge Station

Jeremy Selwyn

48/50

A empty restaurant in the Bull Ring Shopping Centre

.

49/50

A deserted Trafalgar Square in London

PA

50/50

Passengers determined to avoid the coronavirus before leaving the UK arrive at Gatwick Airport

.

1/50

Electronic bilboards displays a message warning people to stay home in Sheffield

PA

2/50

An image of The Queen eith quotes from her broadcast to the UK and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus epidemic are displayed on lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus

PA

3/50

Boris Johnson addresses the nation on the Coronavirus lockdown

Andrew Parsons

4/50

Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas’ hospital

.

5/50

Durdle Door in Dorset

.

6/50

Captain Tom Moore

via .

7/50

Mia, aged 8, and Jack, aged 5, take part in « PE with Joe » a daily live workout with Joe Wicks on Youtube to help kids stay fit who have to stay indoors due to the Coronavirus outbreak

PA

8/50

An NHS worker reacts at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS

.

9/50

Goats which have taken over the deserted streets of Llandudno

@AndrewStuart via PA

10/50

Tobias Weller

PA

11/50

Novikov restaurant in London with its shutters pulled down while the restaurant is closed

12/50

London Landscapes: Hyde Park and the Serpentine, central London.

Matt Writtle

13/50

A newspaper vendor in Manchester city centre giving away free toilet rolls with every paper bought as shops run low on supplies due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus

PA

14/50

Theo Clay looks out of his window next to his hand-drawn picture of a rainbow in Liverpool, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue

.

15/50

A young man cuts another man’s hair on top of a closed hairdresser in Oxford

.

16/50

General view of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital, built to fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London

via .

17/50

Jason Baird is seen dressed as Spiderman during his daily exercise to cheer up local children in Stockport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

.

18/50

A woman wearing a face mask walks past Buckingham Palace

.

19/50

A man holds mobile phone displaying a text message alert sent by the government warning that new rules are in force across the UK and people must stay at home

PA

20/50

Medical staff on the Covid-19 ward at the Neath Port Talbot Hospital, in Wales, as the health services continue their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

21/50

Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking part in a virtual Cabinet meeting with his top team of ministers

PA

22/50

A shopper walks past empty shelves in a Lidl store on in Wallington. After spates of « panic buying » cleared supermarket shelves of items like toilet paper and cleaning products, stores across the UK have introduced limits on purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have also created special time slots for the elderly and other shoppers vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

.

23/50

People on a busy tube train in London at rush hour

PA

24/50

Mia, aged 8 and her brother Jack, aged 5 from Essex, continue their school work at home, after being sent home due to the coronavirus

PA

25/50

Children are painting ‘Chase the rainbows’ artwork and springing up in windows across the country

.

26/50

Social distancing in Primrose Hill

Jeremy Selwyn

27/50

Westminster Bridge is deserted

PA

28/50

A general view of a locked gate at Anfield, Liverpool as The Premier League has been suspended

PA

29/50

An empty escalator at Charing Coss London Underground tube station

Jeremy Selwyn

30/50

Homeless people in London

. via .

31/50

A piece of art by the artist, known as the Rebel Bear has appeared on a wall on Bank Street in Glasgow. The new addition to Glasgow’s street art is capturing the global Coronavirus crisis. The piece features a woman and a man pulling back to give each other a kiss

PA

32/50

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace, London, for Windsor Castle to socially distance herself amid the coronavirus pandemic

PA

33/50

A general view on Grey street, Newcastle as coronavirus cases grow around the world

.

34/50

Matt Raw, a British national who returned from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, leaves quaratine at Arrowe Park Hospital on Merseyside

PA

35/50

Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty (L) and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance look on as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news conference inside 10 Downing Street

.

36/50

The ticket-validation terminals at the tram stop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street are cleaned following the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

37/50

Locked school gates at Rockcliffe First School in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

PA

38/50

A sign at a Sainsbury’s supermarket informs customers that limits have been set on a small number of products as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases grow around the world

.

39/50

Jawad Javed delivers coronavirus protection kits that he and his wife have put together to the vulnerable people of their community of Stenhousemuir, between Glasgow and Edinburgh

. via .

40/50

A sign advertising a book titled « How Will We Survive On Earth? »

.

41/50

A man who appears to be homeless sleeping wearing a mask today in Victoria

Jeremy Selwyn

42/50

A pedestrian walks past graffiti that reads « Diseases are in the City » in Edinburgh

. via .

43/50

Staff from The Lyric Theatre, London inform patrons, as it shuts its doors

PA

44/50

A quiet looking George IV Bridge in Edinburgh

PA

45/50

A quieter than usual British Museum

.

46/50

A racegoer attends Cheltenham in a fashionable face mask

SplashNews.com

47/50

A commuter wears a face mask at London Bridge Station

Jeremy Selwyn

48/50

A empty restaurant in the Bull Ring Shopping Centre

.

49/50

A deserted Trafalgar Square in London

PA

50/50

Passengers determined to avoid the coronavirus before leaving the UK arrive at Gatwick Airport

.

He added: “But the House and the Government and the country face three massive sets of decisions on the recovery of the economy, which will be critical before the end of October – that’s when the various funding schemes broadly run out, and that’s when the brick wall in our economic future faces us.

“We have Brexit still coming, and frankly October is going to be the key month ahead.

“Covid-19 running into winter, so again October is going to be the key time.”

Mr Davis later suggested testing MPs daily for Covid-19 to allow it to fully return.

PMQs review: Johnson scores an F in his first test after the holidays

Conservative Sir Robert Syms (Poole) expressed disappointment that more MPs were not allowed in the chamber, adding: “We’re here to lead.

“We’re expecting schools to go back, universities to go back, people to go back to work, and we’re 650 MPs and only 50 allowed in the chamber – that inevitably restricts the ability of members to represent their constituents.”

Conservative former minister Sir Christopher Chope said it was “over the top” to extend the arrangements until November.

For the Government, Mr Rees-Mogg said the Commons is not the same at the moment but insisted having 50 MPs in at any one time can make a difference.

He added: “It doesn’t mean there is no holding to account, it doesn’t mean there is no representation of our constituents.”

Read more

Conservative former minister Steve Brine stressed the importance of Westminster Hall to “keeping ministers honest”, adding: “We are living a lie to the public at the moment – we’ve never worked harder, but we’re not working hard here in SW1.”

Mr Rees-Mogg insisted the Commons is “getting back to the normal pattern” with Westminster Hall debates returning within weeks, adding: “We are back at work in this place.”

He encouraged MPs to ensure they have two members of staff in their Westminster offices, in line with guidance from Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, adding: “We are back at work in SW1, and the opportunities for holding to account are there.”

Mr Rees-Mogg suggested the opportunity for virtual contributions are expected to continue “until we’re confident there won’t be further local lockdowns”.

More about:

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David Davis

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Commons

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Jacob Rees-Mogg

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