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Speaker Lindsay Hoyle warns MPs they could become ‘supers-spreaders’ after COVID outbreaks in Parliament

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle speaks in the House of Commons, London, as MPs gathered for the first time since March 25, following the Easter recess and due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle urged politicians to look after themselves (Picture: PA)

The commons speaker has warned MPs they could become coronavirus “superspreaders” and they should not “put themselves at risk”.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle urged politicians to look after themselves to ensure they are “here for the long-term” and suggested he supported moving to virtual proceedings to protect them.

The speaker told Times Radio: “What we have got to watch out, (is that) MPs could easily become superspreaders because they come from all parts of the country…

“Whatever happens, people’s lives matter most, their health comes first and people with certain medical conditions, people of a certain age – I’m saying you’ve got to look after yourself.

“My advice – and it’s advice not instructions – is to say put yourself first, look after yourself and make sure you are here for the long-term … do not put yourself at risk – that’s either travelling or coming into this building.”

Watch: Speaker’s procession all wear face masks in Commons

On Wednesday a spokeswoman for the speaker said he had told vulnerable MPs to not attend Parliament.

Last week he revealed there had been "a small number of cases on the parliamentary estate".

On Tuesday shadow culture minister Chris Matheson confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19 after falling ill on Saturday.

The Speaker added it is up to the House to decide whether to move back to an almost virtual Parliament but asked what he would do if it was his decision, he said: “I would say let’s look at it straight away and let’s start to move to a new place.”

Sir Lindsay also criticised MP Margaret Ferrier, who had the SNP whip withdrawn after travelling while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.

He added: “That was the mistake – that was absolutely disgraceful and reckless to all of us. And that’s the kind of thing I don’t want to happen.

“And I’ve got to say, we’ve not, as far as I’m aware, and I check all the tags, we’ve not seen that repeated, the one thing we have is probably the best Track and Trace in the country in Parliament.”

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has said MPs who want to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic are “wet”.

His comments last week came amid calls for a return to remote voting in the House of Commons, with COVID-19 infections quickly increasing across the country.

Rees-Mogg dismissed these calls, pointing to how people such as nurses and supermarket workers have been going to work throughout the pandemic.

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