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Alyn Smith: Parliament Must Meet Virtually

Published:

Categories: Coronavirus (COVID-19), News, UK Government (Westminster)

Alyn Smith MP and Bruce Crawford MSP met with the SNP Group on Stirling Council via Zoom today (Monday), to discuss the joint approach to Coronavirus.

Stirling’s MP Alyn Smith has added his name to a letter, calling on the Westminster Parliament to meet virtually.

As it stands, MPs are due to return to the UK Parliament on April 21st to debate proposed legislation relating to Brexit. A normal programme of votes on government legislation will follow.

Standing orders for the House of Commons means that there must be a minimum of 40 MPs in the Chamber for a vote to take place.

Commenting, Alyn Smith said:

“This is the biggest crisis that any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and it’s crucial that the UK Government is held to account on how it is handling the matter. Whilst, for the most part, working cooperatively has been the best way to do things, there are clear areas where improvements can be made and the UK Government should not be able to avoid that scrutiny.

“Having 650 elected representatives from all corners of the UK travel to a palace in London is not sensible right now. Last week, the Scottish Parliament demonstrated what can be done through virtual meetings, with party leaders taking part in First Minister’s Question time through video link. Weekly, Bruce Crawford MSP and I meet with the SNP Council Group via online video link – safely working from home, but still getting on with the work that we need to do.

“I gather that the Speaker of the House of Commons is warm to the idea of a virtual parliament. Not just for MPs, but their staff, parliamentary clerks, security, management and researchers all have a right to work in a safe environment. Until the threat of Covid-19 has subsided, ritual and tradition should be suspended in favour of public health.”