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Tuesday 13 July 2021

House of Commons returning to full capacity “downright reckless”

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FDA National Officer Jawad Raza has criticised the plan for the House of Commons Chamber to return to full capacity next week, describing it as a “political stunt, which shows scant regard for the wellbeing of Parliamentary staff”. 

The House of Commons Commission reportedly plans to scrap the COVID-19 restrictions, which will allow all 650 MPs sit in the Chamber for Prime Minister’s Questions on 21 July. As infection rates soar, Raza said that “MPs should be leading by example and taking a precautionary approach”. 

“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.” 

“Public health experts are saying if you are able to work effectively from home, we should do so over the next few weeks. Our members have shown that they can operate effectively while working remotely and parliamentary business has been allowed to carry on throughout the pandemic. “ 

“There are still unanswered questions regarding what, if any, safety precautions will be in place – Will they wear masks? Will they observe any social distancing? – and this lack of clarity will do nothing to instil confidence in staff. 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.” 

Raza’s comments were covered by the Guardian.

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