Thursday, December 8, 2022

Group raises alarm as COVID-19 breaks out in UK parliament

Eight lawmakers have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

• December 15, 2021
U.K Parliament
British Parliament used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: Britannica]

The British Parliament will become a “hotbed of infection” unless significant steps are taken to stop the spread of coronavirus, a union has warned.

Eight lawmakers have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

Garry Graham, deputy General Secretary of the Prospect Union, called on Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg to take steps to make the body more COVID-secure.

Mr Graham called for members of Parliament to take and record daily lateral flow tests.

He also called on the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to look at how COVID-safe the Commons chamber, MPs’ offices, committee rooms and voting lobbies really are.

Fears have been raised that MPs crowding into the lobbies to vote on measures on Tuesday could have caused the case number in Parliament higher.

Extra time was allowed for the votes to try and allow MPs to keep their distance.

Mr Graham added that more must be done when the Commons returns after Christmas.

“In just the last few hours, several MPs have announced that they have tested positive for COVID, with some blaming the lack of ability to participate in parliamentary proceedings remotely as a factor.

“The intransigence of Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg in not insisting on face masks and not allowing remote participation, may well be playing a part in Parliament becoming a hotbed of infection, just as it was at the start of the pandemic.

“Only by taking necessary steps to improve safety in the Palace of Westminster will we actually be able to keep democracy going without unnecessary risk to staff or our elected representatives.”

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