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Wednesday 14 July 2021

FDA to name and shame MPs who refuse to wear face coverings

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Members of Parliament who ignore the Speaker’s advice to wear face coverings are willingly putting parliamentary staff at risk and will be named and shamed by the FDA.

The move follows the decision by the House of Commons Commission that parliamentary staff will be required to wear face coverings but MPs cannot be compelled to do so.

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said: “Parliament is a historic building with notoriously bad ventilation. We fully support the decision to require House staff to wear face coverings to help protect their colleagues and Parliamentarians from increased risk of spreading COVID-19. It is extraordinary that Parliament can recognise this important public safety measure is necessary, but find no means to enforce it with MPs themselves.

“In these circumstances, MPs who fail to wear masks in the House and are not exempt are doing so in the full knowledge that their actions potentially increase the risk of COVID-19 infection to their parliamentary colleagues and House staff. Such action needs to be called out and, as such, we will write to those MPs making clear that their actions are undermining the health of the dedicated public servants who support them and making public the names of those MPs who undertake this reckless action.”

FDA National Officer Jawad Raza had previously criticised the House of Commons Chamber returning to full capacity, branding it a “political stunt”. He told the Guardian that the plan “shows scant regard for the wellbeing of parliamentary staff”.

“Cramming 100s of MPs into a historic building with little to no ventilation is obviously not a sensible approach,” he explained. “But when you consider the 1,000s of staff also needed to support parliamentary business, it’s downright reckless... it would have been far safer for the Commons to slow down, take into account the health and wellbeing of our members, and be cautious rather than grandstanding to make a political point.” 

Penman’s comments were covered by BBC News, ITV News, the Independent, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph and MailOnline.

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