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In the Commons the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has approved an emergency debate on how the House of Commons operates during the coronavirus pandemic. It will take place on Monday.
The request for the debate was submitted by the Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael, who represents Orkney and Shetland. In the debate on the new arrangements on Tuesday, he explained why expecting MPs to attend the Commons in person was so unreasonable for someone with a constituency like his. He said:
In order for me to get here today, it required a journey of 18 hours, starting with an aeroplane, a taxi, a normal train and four hours in Edinburgh waiting for a sleeper train that I picked up at 1 o’clock this morning to arrive at Euston at 8 am. I cannot and will not do that every week. Apart from anything else, the return journey will be 26 hours long and would require me then to go into self-isolation for 14 days—the only responsible way to live in a community such as mine. Having come here, I am here for the duration, because I cannot go back until it is safe to my family and my community for me to do so.
The Deputy Speaker has granted my application for a debate on Monday. I want to note my appreciation for everything that the Speaker and all staff have done to ensure the safety of members and employees of the House during this most difficult time. /1
The implications of the government’s insistence on our return to physical attendance should be clear to everyone by now. We risk the safety of people across the country. It is my earnest prayer that the SoS does not test positive for COVID-19 but this should be a wake up call. /2
He illustrated perfectly the way in which we are all subject to pressures to carry on when we should not. Doing so, when we are physically present in Westminster, exposes ourselves, our families and our constituents to risk. We owe our communities better. /3
The Leader of the House told us on Tuesday that he would bring forward a motion to allow members who are shielding to participate remotely. All the communities of the UK deserve full representation and I am concerned about the limits the government is trying to place on this. /4
One of the first rules of politics is that when you are in a hole then you should stop digging. I am glad that the Deputy Speaker granted the debate for Monday. This will allow the government to explain to the world why they refuse to put down their spade. /ENDS
Public Health Wales said a further eight people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of deaths in Wales to 1,379.
And another 35 people have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases there to 14,238.
The latest number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Wales has been updated.